I broke a promise today that I made to myself almost ten years ago. It all stemmed from a poor judgement call I made, and resolved never to make again.
Now, I consider myself a fairly smart person, and usually when I do something stupid or thoughtless it's because I'm too lazy to do it correctly, not necessarily because I don't understand how it could be done better. And while I still consider myself 'smart' after I've completed whatever ridiculous inexcusable thing. . . a small part of my brain says, "That was stupid." I compartmentalize that part of my brain and try not to think about it again, drowning it in alcohol.
So ten years ago (or so) I was on my way somewhere. I can't recall where, but it's irrelevant. I had just put on a button-down long-sleeve shirt. It was pressed and neat but lengthy closet storage had left behind a slight crease partway up the front. It was such a tiny little thing, but it was irritating, and I felt like it made sense to iron it out.
Still, it was such a tiny little wrinkle! I mean really, to set up an ironing board, warm up the iron, doff the shirt and press it and . . . for this tiny little wrinkle. . . it just seemed like much ado about nothing. Regardless the wrinkle bothered me.
I decided that rather than getting out the ironing board and getting undressed it would be soo much faster if I just ironed it while it was on my body. I know. . . sounds stupid, right? But I assure you I'd done it many times with good results. I almost always wear a tshirt underneath a long sleeve shirt, and if you move along quickly enough you hardly feel the heat reach your skin before you've moved on, the shirt rendered wrinkle free, the ironing board remaining untouched against the wall of the laundry room.
This particular tiny little wrinkle, small though it was, was just a stubborn little cuss. It was obvious that I was going to have to take the damn shirt off UNLESS. . . and just like that, before I had a chance to even really think about it, my finger pushed the steam jet button and directed a pressurized burst of steam out of six little steam nozzles spaced evenly along the arc of the iron's heating surface. Boy was I surprised! So surprised was I in fact that I invoked the name of the Lord and discussed loudly and colorfully my lack of judgement at great length, interjecting terms for forbidden sex acts and jumping up and down for good measure.
The aftermath of the affair was that I had six blisters spaced evenly in a smooth arc up the flat of my belly for at least a week before they burst and time healed them, and a vow never to do something that stupid again.
That was then.
This morning after breakfast was finished and my plate and coffee mug were rinsed and ready to be loaded into the dishwasher, I climbed the steps to the bathroom and prepared to brush my teeth. In one hand I held the toothbrush. In the other hand I held my iPhone. I stared incredulously at the word "tuatera" (blogger's spellcheck doesn't know wtf it means either, Karen) that Karen V had played to the tune of 63 points on Words With Friends and began typing the message, "Tuatera? Really?" to her when it happened. A dollop of drool-diluted toothpaste escaped the gentle confines of my mouth and dripped from my lips where it glanced off my shirt-clad stomach to land on the counter.
I got more water. . . I pooched out my stomach as far as it would go and wetted my belly with water from the tap, then dried that off, thinking it would act almost like an impromptu ironing board. But it didn't.
I thought about the steam jet incident then. I went downstairs intending to iron my shirt. I was at war with myself. Do I take off the shirt? In the end my laziness once more beat the shit out of my common sense, and I heated up the iron, rubbing it over my belly, careful not to push the steam jet button. Mission accomplished, the pucker was gone.
So. . . what lesson did I learn? I learned that it's OKAY to iron your shirt with it on. It was a lesson I forgot nearly a decade ago when I gave myself second-degree burns, but as time dulled that painful memory, this newest triumph has overshadowed it completely. But I also learned that it's ONLY okay if you don't push the steam jet button. So it's almost like a real lesson.