As I reflect on all the very dumb stuff I have done in my life, one very true reality comes to me — I was rewarded accordingly for about all of them. I am not just thinking about the stuff as a kid, because it didn’t seem to stop there.
I think we all do not-so-smart things our whole lives. We even tell ourselves it will turn out just fine, but it almost never does. Bad choices just rarely turn out good. I had even thought about making a list of just a few of mine, but it would fill up the entire paper. From the wisest of us to the, let’s just say, challenged decision-makers, we all can think of several in our past.
When we find ourselves in this “what did I do?” dilemma, we have a couple of weapons we can use. No. 1 — We can dust ourselves off and get up and try again. But we must vow never to make that same blunder again. No. 2 — This one seems to happen a lot in our world today. We get up and try to figure out who, or what, we can transfer blame to. It must be someone’s fault; it just can’t be ours. I was triggered by someone, due to my skin color, my family, my past, and on and on.
But it appears to me there’s another side here that we rarely think about.
Here’s the other. Have you ever avoided a bad outcome and are not sure what made you not go forward? You almost did this or that, or maybe went a different way home only to find out later that there was a bad accident on your normal road? You were on a task of some kind, and you stopped for really no reason at all only to find out later you dodged a major bullet that would have been catastrophic.
I dodged a major one about 30 or more years ago. As a young man, I was trying to find my place in this crazy world. Through a chain of events, I was in the used manufactured homes business. I would travel most of the state visiting new home dealers and buy their trade-ins for resale.
The largest dealer in Ohio was about 3½ hours north of here. I did a lot of business with him over a two- to three-year period and we kind of became friends. This guy was amazing in so many ways. At the time I saw him as something I wanted to become. His dealership was inside what used to be a shopping mall. There was a restaurant, a kids’ play area, a radio station, and acres of inventory. From the outside looking in, he was “living the dream.”
What I thought was my big opportunity came one day when I was there. He offered me a job. Not just a job — THE job. I was going to be on a salary of very close to $200,000 per year which was three to four times what I ever made in my life. Now bear in mind, this was the mid to late ’80s. That was a tremendous amount of money thrown at me. It would mean selling my home and moving my family away from everyone we knew. Again, at the time it was — THE job.
I met with him twice and discussed the job in detail and it was a go. I went home and talked it over and it was a unanimous decision to go for it. I had a 3:30 p.m. appointment with him the next day to accept and sign. At 3:15 I was sitting in his parking lot ready to go and sign the acceptance. At 3:30 I left and never even went inside. Why would I do that, you may be thinking? To this day I am still unsure how that came to be.
It was roughly 30 days or so later that it became clear to me why I drove off. I can’t remember all the details, but my successful friend became the object of a nationwide manhunt and was wanted in connection with several million dollars of missing funds. He was found on an island somewhere in the Caribbean a few months later. It became obvious to me at this point why I drove away and didn’t accept the job. I had a gut feeling.
Like anyone reading here, I screw up daily. I say the wrong things, think the wrong things, and do the wrong things. But I do have a very strong faith in God above. In our area, I think most people share that same faith. There is no doubt in my mind that God was with me that day, somehow moving me away from what would have been a very bad decision.
For all the bad choices we have all made there are many more that we have avoided simply due to our faith in God above.
Randy Butler is a lifelong resident of Highland County and a licensed real estate agent for Classic Real Estate in Hillsboro.