Who would I be today if I’d said “yes”?
Have you ever wondered who you’d be if at some point you’d taken a different fork in the road? Pursued a different career. Married a different person. Chosen not to pet that baby alligator.
My first big fork came in Fifth Grade. Mr. Taketa was a politely obsessive Japanese-born teacher who wasn’t much taller than we were. He kept a clerk’s bell on his desk and made us memorize a series of Pavlovian dings: One bell = nap time, two bells = announcements (accompaniment by Mr. T’s strident, “’tension, please, ‘tension!”), three bells = Math, etc.
But four bells meant Art, and this was when Mr. Taketa’s clerkish demeanor wilted and his passion bloomed. Art had clearly been his fork in the road, the path he regretted not having taken. Perhaps he wasn’t talented enough. Or perhaps his parents had insisted he pursue something sensible, like teaching rude American fifth graders how to…
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