All the "woulda-shoulda-coulda" stories. Regretting the chances we DIDN'T take. Message to Jerry Reese: Get this guy, get him now.
Do you remember passing on an appetizer at a restaurant? You know, the really tasty looking kind that everyone else ordered but you?
You probably reasoned with yourself - "I can do without it - Mind over matter". You don't know why you felt that way, but hey - you saved a few bucks, saved yourself a few extra pounds, and saved room for your main course, right? The waiter no sooner slapped the plates down on the table and the succulent aroma was already wafting towards you. You could literally see the steam take the form of a hand that curled it's finger - beckoning you to "come here and take a bite". But you didn't... instead you sat and watched everyone else enjoy their appitizer. Of course, they offered to share with you - "C'mon, take some. I can't eat all of this anyway." You sat back, forced yourself to smile and said "Nah, really I'm good. If I wanted it I would have ordered it myself." But... you didn't. And though you were silently kicking yourself for overcomplicating such a simple decision, it evolved into nothing more than saving face. Stupid, right? I'll bet it worked out fine though, because you made up for it by grabbing some ice cream on the way home. That's what I would have done.
A minor regret, easily tucked away and forgotten thanks to a 24-hour Baskin-Robbins.
On weekends, we're all faced with making at least one trip somewhere - to someplace we would rather not be going if given the choice. Usually it's family you don't quite get along with or enjoy being around. Or good friends that happen to live a full 2-hour drive away. But what really burns you is not that you had to go in the first place - it's the fact that you ignored that little voice inside your head that told you there would be massive delays on the parkway. It told you that you should give considerable thought to taking that alternate route you're always so quick to brag about having discovered years ago. At least now you have something to think about as you pop another piece of nicotene gum in your mouth while stretching every last nerve you own staying calm in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Another small regret that helped toss a perfectly good weekend afternoon into the trash can, but it's not the end of the world.
I remember being at Fairleigh Dickinson University almost 20 years ago for Giants training camp. A retired player - who shall remain nameless for fear that he may track me down - was milling around the commissary. I politely asked him for an autograph and reached out to shake his hand. He ignored me, and didn't even look at me when he said "I'm working. I don't sign while I'm working". A 20-something man acting like a dejected 10-year old, I dropped my head and shuffled away crestfallen (I think i actually shoved my hands in my pockets and kicked a rock as I left). It wasn't asking for the autograph that I regret. It was the comment I made when I saw him later in the day... he was presenting trophies to some pee-wee football team (complete with photographers from the local PennySaver). I uttered "Hey kids, don't bother asking for an autograph - He's 'working' today" as I passed by the group - I even threw in a set of obnoxious air quotes for good measure.
OK, so I was 20-something, but I would be lying if I pretended that there weren't multifaceted levels of regret attached to that incident. It's alright though, because I ran into him years later and everything was cool. And by 'cool", I mean he ignored me again.
And then there's "The Big One".
One big regret that each and every one of us lives with. Maybe it's that girl you were infatuated with and never summoned the courage to ask out on a date. Perhaps it was that promotion or opportunity you held yourself back from pursuing because you felt you had no shot at it. A house or car that you backed away from investing in, because it was "just a bit too..." something; too expensive, too old, too big, too this and too that.
Maybe it was keeping quiet when something needed to be said, or standing up for someone who needed the help. Maybe it was putting off a visit with a loved one until it was too late - never having the chance to say goodbye.
These are real-life. These matter, and these can hurt. They're important in comparison to your allegiance to an NFL team. There's a weight there, and its immesurable - the consequences dynamic. Let's get back to the NFL and lighten things up a bit.
In a few years, we could all be sitting around discussing the trade the Giants didn't make. You know - the one that could have sent Braylon Edwards to the Giants for some draft picks and a receiver? One of the dedicated and talented, yet undeniably not-ready-for-primetime receivers on the Giants roster? Yeah, Edwards had a down year in 2008... he dropped everything thrown to him. Except for that Monday night game in week four against the Giants. You just knew that this 6'3", 220 lb monster of a receiver was going to turn things around. He just needed some consistency from his quarterback, and a coaching staff with a winning attitude. It wasn't as if he was carrying the same baggage that Plaxico Burress did when he made the trip fom Pittsburgh in 2005.
Man, Braylon Edwards would have looked good in Giant blue as our new number 17. Too bad they didn't listen to that little voice in their heads, telling them to give considerable thought to taking that alternate route. Too bad they ignored the outstretched arm of the Cleveland Browns that only wanted a signature and a hand shake. To quote Shelly Levene, the desperately pathetic salesman in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross - "All my thoughts are on them as I'm holding the last thought that I spoke: 'Now is the time'... they signed."
An aroma is wafting towards East Rutherford at this very moment - beckoning for the Giants to "come here and take a bite" out of their offensive shortcomings. It's only a matter of opinion, but Edwards just might be something to invest in - and not worry about whether he's just a little too inconsistent. Or a little too expensive.
It's not life or death. But it's certainly not something that can be satiated by stopping off at a 24-hour Baskin-Robbins, either.