Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Impulse Should Not Always Be Controlled

I have a friend that tells the funniest stories from his childhood/adolescence. Let’s call him Charlie. From looking at him now as a HIGHLY responsible adult, I would never imagine him being the impulsive, awkward youth that he describes with his tales of clumsy adventure in middle and high school. Of course, we all have tales where we did the ridiculous, the seemingly pointless, but his stories always have one underlying drive…a total lack of impulse control. It usually leaves me shaking my head in amazement or laughing to the point of tears.

Charlie wanted very badly to be a member of his high school choir. In order achieve this goal; he would have to sing a duet with a girl in front of the choir director. In this situation, most would feel their nerves building and they might blow their cool. But not Charlie.

While the choir director played the stand up piano in the practice room, Charlie and his female partner crooned The Battle Hymn of the Republic…

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…”

Then, suddenly, Charlie could not resist himself. He saw the pegs on the back of the stand up piano. The pegs were directly across from each other and in Charlie’s young mind; these pegs were placed in front of him for one purpose.

Even though his desire to be part of the choir was intense, his impulsive need to grab a hold of these pegs and take a semi-squatting position was the powerful drive. He took a hold of each peg and began revving like he was driving the baddest, meanest motorcycle in that choir practice room. Actually, Charlie was the only one pretending to drive an imaginary HOG in the room. His partner continued on without missing a beat. She was always the professional.

“His truth is marching on..," sang the very focused young girl.
"Revvvvv.....Revvvv..," Charlie sang.

The visual of this occurring is hilarious, yet when I questioned Charlie about his reasoning for making such a bizarre choice, he assured me that he was never considered the class clown or made the choice to be funny. He truly wanted to be in the choir. He still has no idea where it all came from.

Unfortunately, the older we get, the less we give into our whims and desires, which gives us less to laugh at about ourselves. Do we need to control all of our impulses or can we give into them and truly enjoy them like they are meant to be enjoyed? As a full-fledged adult, I try to control most of my impulses. I have learned something from Charlie’s quirky stories…I am going to allow myself one impulsive gesture in a day.

Well, as you may have guessed, Charlie did not make the choir. But Charlie does own a real, bona fide motorcycle and no longer has to give into his urges of being a bad-ass HOG rider.

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