Ted Wilson Reviews the World: My Guilt
Electric Lit relies on contributions from our readers to help make literature more exciting, relevant, and inclusive. Please support our work by becoming a member today, or making a one-time donation here.
★★☆☆☆ (2 out of 5)
I always try to keep a pleasant disposition, even in the face of people talking during a movie, but the truth is, I have a lot of guilt that can get me down.
There’s the guilt I feel for the time as a child that I tore off the wings of a monarch and glued them to my back to try and fly. That poor butterfly was still alive while I jumped around like an idiot. Or the time I told my nephew that Santa Claus was real, and then when my nephew learned the truth, he gave me the dirtiest look and didn’t speak to me for 12 years. One of the things I feel most guilty about is how I handled my wife’s funeral.
The point is I’m holding onto over 80 years of compounded guilt. Each year of my life brings more and more guilt. I’ve tried to balance it out by doing good things just for the sake of it. Like when I see a person pulled over with a flat tire, I will always stop and tell them how to fix it, even if they say they don’t need my help. People can be prideful and stubborn about accepting help.
Another way I try to alleviate my guilt is to compare my misdeeds to the misdeeds of others. An old colleague of mine recently tried to end her life by driving herself and her entire family into a pond. Everyone survived but she must live with the guilt of ruining the car and getting everyone soaking wet. She can never undo that.
Sometimes at night my guilt will wake me up in a cold sweat. That’s why I keep a towel next to my bed, to wipe the guilt away. If I can’t quickly locate the towel in the dark I grow panicked and start screaming, “Get this guilt off of me! Get it off!”
There’s one thing I feel very guilty for that I’ve never told anyone about, but I think it’s time I got it off my chest. Last year I adopted an orphan through a Russian website, and after transferring the $75,000 fee via something called Bitcoin, they put him on a plane to America. But I chickened out and never went to pick him up. I have no idea what happened to him. He might still be waiting for me. If you see a lonely Russian child standing at the airport with a pile of luggage, please take him home. He’s already been paid for.
Admitting my mistake will likely cause this article to go viral and make me the ire of people around the world. I’ll be known as the guy who abandons orphans. I’m willing to accept that. What I did was wrong, but at my age, adopting someone is irresponsible. I could die tomorrow and then he’d be an orphan all over again and he might have to dispose of my body. My guilt in the afterlife would have been too much to bear.
BEST FEATURE: All the guilt-sweat means my body gets rid of a lot of toxins.
WORST FEATURE: The slow, gnawing away of my insides.
Please join me next week when I’ll be reviewing a can of tuna.