You Can’t Unknow What You Know

I was walking one of the dogs this morning and I got to thinking about how often I have said something out of anger and later came to regret it. I may not have meant it deep down, but I meant it when I said it. And the bitch of it is that you can never “unsay” it. You can apologize, plead for forgiveness or send a singing telegram or whatever, but you can never “unsay” it.

And just like you can’t “unsay” or “unsee” something, you can never “unknow” something. Good, bad or indifferent, once you know something, you know it. Certainly you can try to forget, and sometimes you will, but invariably you will always remember it.

I recently found something out about someone that I would rather not know. This person is only related by marriage, so “it ain’t kin”. And what I know is not anything illegal or criminal. Salacious, certainly, but illegal … not in the western world.

The thing of it is that it speaks volumes about not only their value system but also the hypocrisy of their existence. About six or seven years ago this person admitting something (only because they were strong armed to do so) and then, not surprisingly, turned to church to absolve the sin.

Post biblical absolution, I recall a visit and as dinner was served I dug in, as usual. Only to realize the others at the table had folded their hands and were going to say grace. I swiped my fork clean of mashies and set it down. Rather than ask “What the hell is this?” I decided to participate in this silly charade.

Saying grace in our family was not something we did. It’s not that we didn’t feel thankful for what we had. We did. And I don’t mean to belittle those that do say grace religiously. There was just something about this act that seemed so phony, like the person.

Given my recent knowledge, phony is being too kind. More apropos words include, but are not limited to: selfish, narcissistic, conceited, arrogant, egotistical, self-involved, et al.

I’m not knocking anyone with religious beliefs. For many people, regardless of belief system, they help lay a foundation of values that are, on the whole, pretty good. I would certainly include myself because Christianity, for me, instilled some pretty basic values that I still carry with me. Even though I am not a practicing Christian, I identify more with that than any other religion, mostly out of familiarity and my own laziness. Nonetheless, one of the principle tenets of most religions is honesty.

One of the saddest after effects of the proliferation of mind numbing television and the 24 hour news cycle is that we have become more and more familiar with, and thus immune to, the duplicitous nature of politicians, corporations, etc.  The obvious byproduct of witnessing this sort of shitty behavior is that smaller minds can cite it as an example and use it to make rationalizations for their own shitty behavior.

“Well, so and so did it, so it must be OK.” Well, yea, if you subscribe to the same shitty belief system, then yea, it’s fine.

However, if you behave as a selfish miscreant and then try to identify or define yourself through some other means, say as a regular Sunday church going type … well, you might be bordering on some sort of behavior problem if not complete disorder.

But, you could also just be an old fashioned asshole. Can’t rule that out.

Today, almost more than any other time in our history, you have to stand for something and you have to know what you stand for. In other words, you’ve got to have principles. They may ebb and flow and even change over time, that’s  normal.

Take for example, the sanctity of marriage. One of the most basic agreements of any marriage is that you will remain faithful. That you will only be intimate, physically and otherwise, with that one person, for the rest of your life. Look, for me, that seems a little ridiculous because even though we are human, we are still animals. And animals are simply not designed that way. I know myself enough to know that I had too much respect for that type of commitment and, honestly, it was not something I felt I could have adhered to when I was younger. Accordingly, I NEVER GOT MARRIED!

Not because I couldn’t and, at various times, didn’t want to. For whatever reason, the idea of being with just one person, emotionally or physically, for the rest of my life was too large for me to grasp. So, to date, I have not married. I want to and one day, I will.

Nonetheless, just over two million marriages take place each year in the United States. Of those two million, over one million will end in divorce (just over 50%) and should those that divorce choose to re-marry, the second marriage fail rate is about 60% and if they want to try one more time, the third marriage fail rate is about 70%. Pretty grim odds for success.

There are a host of reasons marriages fail, but infidelity is certainly a top contender. So you get married and over time he or she becomes withdrawn, moody, works too much or things become boring in the boudoir or whatever. The point is that it changes. That is normal. All that initial excitement eventually does go away and if you’re lucky, it’s replaced by things more meaningful and substantial than multiple orgasms.

But maybe you’re shallow and only define yourself sexually and need to be objectified and you stray.

I can wrap my head around an indiscretion. I would strongly encourage any such indiscretion be kept private. Telling your partner takes an already incredibly selfish act and makes it infinitely more selfish. It doesn’t absolve you and only makes your partner feel shitty. By telling your partner, you’ve done the emotional equivalent of a data dump (of shit) onto your partner. Not cool. You’ll have to answer for it some day. And you will.

If you are cheating to get out of the marriage you are just an idiot and a coward.

If by some chance you consider yourself among those that feel an “open marriage” is what you need to save the marriage, you are probably less an idiot and more bordering on narcissistic sociopath. For whatever reason, there seems to be a resurgence of this philosophy lately and that I can not wrap my head around.

Yea, yea, we’ve all seen the movies, adult and otherwise, wherean “open marriage” is portrayed as benign. The reality is that there is nothing benign or healthy about an “open marriage”. The behavior is a God damn Petri dish of jealousy, emotional dysfunction and disease.

My guess is, more often than not, an exploration into this “open marriage” shit stems from one partners emotional bankruptcy or insecurity. I would like to hear from the couple that married under the pretense that they were entering into an “open marriage”. Typically, it is one partner strong arming the other into fulfilling their own fantasy or fantasies under the guise of “we need to do this to save our marriage”.

In and of themselves, fantasies are good. They’re healthy, they’re normal and if you are lucky, you can share them with your mate. But the fantasies are always far better than the realities. If you feel the need to explore that sexual fantasy life in your real life, far be it from me to judge. But, don’t drag innocent people down with you and you must absolutely know that doing so is a slippery slope.

I am old enough now where the idea of marriage doesn’t intimidate me as much. Understanding that marriage is about more than fidelity, it’s about happiness. Maybe I never married because I just refused to give up on my own happiness. Not so much as it is right now but how it can be.

You owe it to yourself to be happy. To try and find that happiness and share it with someone who wants to share it with you. Some people only find happiness in moments while others feel it perpetually. Both are just as important.

But if you think you can find happiness exploring some sort of Caligula like lifestyle, you’re gonna end up just as emotionally vacant as you always were.

Also part of being happy is having principles and staying true to them. I’ve no doubt that has cost me friends, promotions and  jobs but, fluck it, that is who I am. At the end of each day I have to put my head on my pillow and answer for my day.

The God I choose to believe in doesn’t need me to say grace or go to Church every week or tithe. The God I choose to believe in only asks that I live my life the best way I know how. And for me that means living by my principles, which include, but are not limited to, understanding the concept of commitment, the perils of deceit and recognizing, however painful, when someone has a tectonic shift from what was once shared.

I can’t “unknow” what I know about this person. To be honest though, I am thankful for the knowledge because it paints a much more thorough portrait of who they are and what their real values are.

And where they do exist, they are diametrically opposed to mine.

Forgiveness? Who the hell am I to bestow “forgiveness”? They’ll have to answer for it someday.

Happiness and peace can only come from within and until one recognizes that they will always be chasing the dragon. Sometimes the dragon is drugs, sometimes it’s booze and sometimes it’s sex, but always it’s empty.