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  • Writer's pictureWJ King


“I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could’ve been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.” The quote was made famous by Marlon Brando, as Terry Malloy in the movie ‘Waterfront’. It applies to more than a prize fighter/dock worker in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1954. Virtually everyone has thought about the entire or at least a component of these statements, as it pertains to their own life or specific chapters of it.

“If I had taken that job.” “If I had married that person.” If only I had applied myself.” This hypothesis recognizes no economic boundaries. Someone sits under a bridge in Seattle rueing their decision to forego college in favor of the military, forty years ago. Another sits ostensibly comfortably in Martha’s Vineyard reading the newspaper, wishing they had married the person they loved, years ago without regard to their ‘station’, while their spouse rails about a disrespectful cabin boy. As s/he turns the pages of their newspaper, they pound back bourbon old fashions to drown out the tantrum..

“Hindsight is twenty-twenty,” a common response to these thoughts, meaning the past is the past, don’t worry about what you can’t change. Indeed, truisms that allow us to think the past is ‘water under the bridge’ and gives us permission to move on and do dumber shit. While some of us are able to learn from our mistakes, others have made it their life’s mission to never learn a solitary thing from poor judgement. The answer to the problem is simple: most decisions can be life altering to some point, decisions have consequences. No, I’m not saying opting for a blue suit over a pinstripe will be something you’ll regret in twenty five years, but it could be. Insisting your seemingly inebriated friend have one more for the road, may very well be. Choosing one job over another because the H.R. was hotter’n the stove, may not be an established job hunting strategy but with all else equal, what the hell. If you are about to be married, my ‘decisions have consequences’ mantra should be tattooed on your forearm. This whole thing sounded like a good idea at Christmas. Everyone was together and your mother had the Hallmark cable station on 24-7. Jewelry stores were almost giving engagement rings away and the celebratory mood prevailed. April arrives, you’re sober but only because s/he badgers you to be and you need a way into the witness protection program. Decisions have consequences.


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