Most don’t regret cats. Photo via panli54.

If I Die Soon Here Are Some Regrets

I’m getting all of my wisdom teeth taken out Thursday morning. I know, I know, I’m 30, and my wisdom teeth aren’t out yet. Shhhhh mom. Just be glad I’m doing it now, okay?

ANYWHO. After my oral surgeon explained there’s a chance he could break my jaw—“But I’ve never done that before”—he also told me I could die. (“That hasn’t happened yet and I don’t intend for it to happen now.”) So I thought I would write up a list detailing some of my life’s regrets.

Not necessarily the biggest, mind you, just the ones I think are worth sharing to the world. Because if I die, I’d rather my last piece on Medium not be about tronc.


  • Not taking care of my body until my late 20s.
  • Quitting my college newspaper for what I honestly can’t remember but that was a real big deal at the time, but really I was just a whiny 23-year-old who probably didn’t get his way or something.
  • Not traveling randomly through America or Europe or whatever before I started my now never-ending career. (This is a white privilege regret, I know.)
  • Not seeing Bruce Springsteen at Wrigley Field when I had could’ve bought tickets because I “had a cold” but really I was just scared to be around people knowing I would cry real hard while enjoying something I loved.
  • The more-or-less five years I took off from any sort of journalistic or creative writing because I was focusing on my “career” as a web developer journalist person.
  • Giving my cat a flea bath in 2010 instead of taking him to have a professional do it. (Because Tiberius has secretly/openly hated me ever since, instead of loving me because I saved him from someone else who gave him that bath).
  • Wearing newsboy hats 2006–2013.
  • Not trying harder in junior high/high school/college.
  • When Calvin and Hobbes stopped running, my Grandma Gen asked me to cut them out of our newspaper and mail them to her, as we sometimes mailed our favorite cartoons from our respective newspapers. (Me the Sioux City Journal, her the Des Moines Register.) I didn’t and then a few weeks later the strip stopped running entirely, and as far as I’m concerned it’s been because I didn’t do what my grandma asked.
  • Thinking for about 20 years an entire meal was a frozen pizza you cook on a Pizzazz.
  • Almost every text message I sent after 11 p.m. from 2006 through 2013.
  • The goatee I had during the summer of 2004. Christ.
  • Trying to rip off a Lawrence Arms song for my MySpace username but then misspelling it and that mistake is still there more than a decade later. (Goddammit.)
  • Writing a poem on LiveJournal about a woman who I broke up with, then sharing it with her, and asking her if she could “figure out the subtext.”
  • Eating a Three Musketeers bar and nachos for lunch almost every day throughout all of junior high.
  • Buying a ticket to see “Be Cool.” (I don’t regret walking out of it.)
  • The long, drunken love letter I wrote a woman I used to date after getting annihilated following a lecture I gave at Indiana University in 2012. The feelings were true. The medium and timing? Not great.
  • Playing five Taking Back Sunday songs in a row on the jukebox in the bar where I got drunk following that lecture. (I do not regret later playing three John Cougar Mellencamp songs in a row because he lives in that town and everyone there kind of hates him.)
  • Not telling that woman how I felt, in person, when I had the chance. (She probably knows who she is because we’re friends and we’ve gone over this, so don’t worry, people. Everything’s fine, but it’s still a regret.)
  • Not seeing a dentist between roughly 2013–2015. (I KNOW.)
  • Not attempting to write a screenplay until 2013.
  • Running out of that Walgreens when Coldplay’s “Fix You” made me cry instead of realizing emotions are fine and expressing your emotions in public doesn’t make you weak. (That song is really good despite what anyone ever says.)
  • Any argument I’ve ever gotten into on Twitter.
  • The millions of hours I spent watching or “caring” about sports when I knew, deep down, I didn’t give a shit and I was only doing it in an attempt to fit in with other people I grew up around, especially other men, despite my dad giving roughly zero shits about sports and my mom liking the Yankees.
  • Not getting my wisdom teeth out when I was, say, 22, or 26, or 17, or literally any age before now.

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