He didn’t mean to be such a fuck up. He really didn’t. Yet, there wasn’t a more apt description for him. He would be the first to admit it. After all, he lived with his fuck-ups longer than anyone else in his life. In fact, he was a fuck up from the moment of his conception. And was very much likely to be a fuck up until his last breath.
At least he kept his spirits up. Overall, he was pretty happy-go-lucky, with an incredibly unlucky streak. A bad luck, sad sack Forrest Gump.
But with a new year drawing close, he decided it was time to do everything in his power to put an end to his fuck ups once and for all. He knew the odds were stacked against him. And he was convinced he was cursed, at which point everything was a lost cause. He couldn’t do a damn thing about it no matter how hard he tried.
But that didn’t stop him from giving it the old college try. No one could accuse him of being a quitter. But sadly, the more he tried, the more he ended up falling flat on his face (in both a figurative and literal sense).
And it certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying when it came to trying to make things right. But this time, he was more determined than ever. Because he was convinced his marriage truly depended on it.
The problem is, the harder he tried not to fuck up, the more he ended up fucking up. A self-fulfilling fuck-up prophecy.
The fuck ups were not only piling up, but were reaching a tipping point. It wasn’t just one major fuck up – most were small. But one after another, year after year really takes a toll. Sure, he had some really big ones (driving into a pond, losing $1000 like Uncle Billy It’s a Wonderful Life, and burning down half of his house). Then there were the numerous injuries to himself. Fortunately, he somehow always spared others.
The large-scale fuck-ups were a problem. But it was the smaller fuck-ups that caused the greatest stress due to their alarming frequency: the wrong date, the wrong time, the wrong order, the wrong the color, the wrong size, the wrong line, the wrong major, the wrong career, the wrong girl.
At least when he was single, the fuck-ups were a lot easier to deal with. Because nobody else had to deal with it but him. They existed in a vacuum. Once he started dating someone, it was usually his fuck-ups that were the reason he became single again. It was a vicious cycle that he had endure for almost his entire life.
The fact that he was able to convince someone to marry him was a real mystery. He never fully understood it himself. How could such a controlling perfectionist marry such an imperfectionist as him?
At least his personality made up for it. At the very least, he was a lovable fuck up.
He certainly counted his blessings on a daily basis, despite the hovering cloud of awareness that someday, she would grow tired of his shit. If she ever harbored the hope that he could change his ways, that ship had sailed. The way she saw it, most fuck ups could have been avoided if he simply used his brain. But he didn’t. And she had no hope that he would ever begin to use it. Or, acquire one for that matter.
He was just so fucking forgetful, which was often the crux of his problem – though not a one-size-fits-all excuse.
His wife maintained that he had undiagnosed ADHD. She certainly did her part to help, by getting him a planner so he wouldn’t forget basic shit. Like birthdays or anniversaries. Including his own.
“Why the fuck do I have to think of everything around here?”
And sure enough, he kept forgetting to use it. Only to lose it less than a week later. Her attempts at getting him to use his phone was just as futile – besides, it was only a matter of time before he lost his phone. And did he ever back his data up? Only if she did it for him!
Lately, his sensed his fuck up were taking a tremendous toll on their marriage, which is why he was stepping up his efforts to clean up his act.
But sure enough, a vintage fuck-up was just a day a way!
His wife asked him to do the grocery shopping (albeit reluctantly). Usually when she “let” him go, he was bound to fuck something up. Like forgetting something on the list. Or, grabbing the wrong item. Or, the wrong quantity. In fact, she recently banned him from grocery shopping, just like she banned him from doing laundry. But her hatred for grocery shopping prompted her to give him another chance. She figured going back to grab one item was better than having to get them all.
So off he went, determined not to fuck up, carefully going through the list, one item at a time. Asking the proper questions. Crossing all his ‘t’s and dotting all of his ‘i’s. This was the most confident he ever felt going into the store.
But then within a minute of grabbing a cart, he reached into his pocket. No list. He checked another pocket. No dice. After all pockets were checked, he headed out of the store in a panic, re-tracing his steps. But then he realized he went out the wrong door, so went back inside and then out the door he came in. But he couldn’t remember specifically where he parked. And then he realized that even if he dropped his list, it was so windy out, it was actually more likely to be on the other side of the lot where he first ended up. When he finally got to his car, he reached for his keys, then realized he left them inside the pocket of his coat, which was inside the cart. He looked into his car and saw no sign of the list, so headed back inside. He would have to shop from piss-poor memory.
However, his cart wasn’t there! He head over to customer serivce and fortunately retrieved his jacket.
As he went down aisle by aisle, he was surprised how confident he felt that he was somehow getting it right. All the time he spent going over the list over and over again was paying unexpected dividends.
He made his purchase, then headed out, still brimming with confidence. And lo and behold, he spotted his list right beneath his feet! He would get a chance to make sure he didn’t miss anything, but just as he reached for it, a gust of wind blew it away. He gave chase, which culminated with him nearly getting hit by a car. And then it was gone.
Despite the setback, he still felt confident while heading home.
As he walked through the door with the first batch of groceries, he stumbled over the lip of the door frame, landing flat on his ass and destroying a carton of eggs.
“Why did you go to Meijer?” his wife said, with no concern to his wellbeing.
“What’s wrong with Meijer?” he said, struggling to get up. “I used my mPerks!”
“Well, did you also go to Kroger?”
“Why would I have gone to Kroger?”
“For my birth control pills that I told you I needed.”
“Oh, I’m sorry! I must have forgotten!”
“Tim! Seriously! What the fuck?!”
“That is the last thing I can live without. No way we want to make that mistake again!”
“I screwed up, okay. I’m sorry. I’ll go back.”
“No. I’ll go. You put away the groceries. And try not to fuck that up, too.”
Not that it really mattered. They had sex just once in the past six months. And she made it clear she had no desire to have sex with him ever again. So why did she take the pills? To keep her periods on the regular. And to trick him into thinking sex was always at least a possibility, even if it really wasn’t. She would never admit that to him. So, it left him in a stage of eternal hope, as far as that front goes.
She left. And he put away the groceries. At least, she wouldn’t be able to call out all the items he forgot. Of course, it would come back to haunt him an hour later when she started making dinner, only to realize he forgot half the ingredients she needed for it. So, she made herself a salad. And he had some Bugles.
“God forbid you’d forget your damn junk food!
“I’m sorry! I lost the list!”
“Of course, you did…I realize now, nothing’s going to change. You are just going to continue to stumble through life, fucking everything up. You know what you are? King Fucking Midas. But in reverse.”
She didn’t even have to tell him the sleeping arrangement that night. He just assumed. But she told him anyway.
“Air mattress. In the playroom.”
“Maybe that’s the only way you’ll learn,” she said to him, before heading off to watch her programs.
Later that night, as he sat at the kitchen table, crestfallen and alone, drowning his ineptitude in a bowl of Crunch Berries, he refocused his efforts on straightening up his act. To prove her wrong.
He believed in himself. It was simply a matter of mind over matter.
The time had come for water to find its level. The law of averages and all its ilk.
But it was too late.
She had already made up her mind.
The next morning, she told him that she was filing for divorce.
She told him before he was awake. Before he could get off his air mattress and onto solid ground. She turned around and left the room before he could say a single word. He lay there for a minute, hoping it was just a bad dream. But knowing otherwise.
He couldn’t blame her. He was a fuck up through and through. And there was nothing in the universe that was going to change that.
He finally got up, only to have his first step land directly on a Lego.
This time, he didn’t even scream.