Sophie's Choice: Atonement of a former flake

Yep, the above headline and subhead refers to yours truly. Some who read this may be snickering with former knowledge of this, or nodding your head vigorously in agreement. To you I offer up a heartfelt apology. I don’t know what I was thinking. Actually, brainpower probably didn’t have much involvement. I have no excuses and I’m sorry for my behavior. A flake is defined in the Urban Dictionary as: (n.) An unreliable person; someone who agrees to do something, but never follows through. And that was me at one point (honestly, more like several) in my young life. If being late were a sport, I would have received a gold medal. Don’t ask me where I got this dangerously casual attitude; this is decidedly not one of those emo moments where blaming my poor parents would nip this less than desirable character trait in the bud. Wherever it came from, it got me fired from my first college play (“I have no use for you,” the director said, and that was that. Welcome to life, kid) and it also performed a part in almost getting me dropped like a flaming paper bag of poo from my job. All I will say is that I’m lucky to have people in my life who believe in second chances and me. What has set me off on this contemplation is that twice this month I have depended on certain people and twice I have been dropped on my keister. If you believe in karma, perhaps I am getting my ample share. Either way, it’s not a pleasant feeling. The problem with flakes is that 90 percent of their problems are generated by thinking about nothing but Justin Beiber. Actually, that’s not true. Flakes’ personal challenges come from thinking too much about themselves. Low self-esteem plays a big factor, because whenever you cast yourself in a bad light, you tend to treat others the same. Sometimes, the naive stupidities of youth and inexperience have a hand in it as well. You tend to think you have all the time in the world, so you put off some of the more important things you should address. Like debts, relationships with family and friends, job obligations, all the details that go along with trying to be a responsible adult who doesn’t feel compelled to drop their eyes when they walk down the street in case they spot someone they have left in the lurch. What’s even worse is wanting to drop your eyes when you look into the mirror. Danger, Will Robinson, danger. Now please don’t get the idea that I have huge, dark secrets stuffed in the corridors of my past (no abandoned babies or covert, government operations for our friends in Russia). No, it’s the little, everyday encounters and issues that can wear us down when we don’t deal with them. And flakes, spend way too much time worrying about the things that don’t matter instead of focusing on what is actually deserving of their time. I don’t mean to wave my banner of rectitude while making a bid for canonization. They have yet to create a model of human that doesn’t err. I will make mistakes again, no doubt. But I’ll never be afraid of what I see in the mirror. I hope you aren’t either. *Shameless plug: please check out my new column in the Sport’s section of the Statesman-Examiner, titled Putting the ‘Try’ in triathlon. Questions, comments or concerns? Email