My greatest mistake
October 15, 2003 2:33 AM   Subscribe

My greatest mistake. As Thomas Edison said, "I've failed my way to success"; here a cross section of British great and good confess their greatest mistakes. So, come on then - what's yours?
posted by jonvaughan (13 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
. . . wasting all my time on the Internet?
posted by LeLiLo at 2:35 AM on October 15, 2003

Much as Frederick Forsyth might be a rabidly right wing, ultra pro-monarchist, he does sound like he'd be fascinating company (not just based on this story).

Stephen Bayley on the other hand always seems to sound like a wanker.
posted by biffa at 2:55 AM on October 15, 2003

Finding out about the internet.

It's left me a broken man.
posted by bshort at 5:03 AM on October 15, 2003

ROY HATTERSLEY: spending 20 years without a dog.

I liked that one.

So far my biggest mistake was being born.
posted by Eekacat at 8:19 AM on October 15, 2003

My biggest mistake was choosing the username "soyjoy" when I signed up here.
posted by soyjoy at 8:32 AM on October 15, 2003

I'm a Yank - we don't apologize for NOTHIN'.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:07 AM on October 15, 2003

It's not about apologies, funky, it's about regrets. And I'd say a lot of guys have got a Toby Young moment somewhere in their history....
posted by mojohand at 9:24 AM on October 15, 2003

Regrets? I've had a few.
posted by gottabefunky at 12:49 PM on October 15, 2003

I've heard of the stutter rapper and the xylophone guy. Are the other people really famous?
posted by donth at 12:51 PM on October 15, 2003

Yes. Will Self is famous for being a heroin addict.
posted by soyjoy at 1:16 PM on October 15, 2003

gottabefunky, You better apologize for going after Pedro. He didn't do nothing to you.

Oh, a Yank, not a Yankee. Nevermind.
posted by PrinceValium at 1:50 PM on October 15, 2003

Yes. Will Self is famous for being a heroin addict.

Yeah, I wonder why he didn't bring that up. Guess he doesn't regret it as without being tossed from the Observer he may not have his present publishing career. His stuff's kind of hit or miss completely with me, but I've enjoyed several of his stories.
posted by Ufez Jones at 6:41 PM on October 15, 2003

Heavens. I love my memory, which tends to gloss over my mistakes... but the mistakes I've made that involve sheer terror tend to stick with me. Needless to say that I'll never ride with another drunk driver (smashed into a parked semi - I was the only one who walked away without multiple, life-threatening injuries, despite the fact that I was in the "death seat".)

I've had many bracing experiences, but I suppose, altogether, I've fairly learned to "measure twice, cut once". One of the scariest things that happened to me that once, as the head of production for a weekly newspaper, and in the throes of an intense deadline frenzy, I okayed the use of a certain widely circulated map graphic in our publication - only to find out (almost immediately - but too late!) that the map author had become kind of litigation-crazy. Furious and sick to death that his map was being reproduced left and right without authorization, he was suing everybody who was using his work without a specific release. I revealed this to the publisher immediately - before he had a chance to find out on his own - and he spoke to the artist, whom he happened to know personally, before the issue ever hit the streets, and the artist decided not to take any action.

In ordinary circumstances I would never have okayed using something I wasn't absolutely sure of, but two hours 'til absolute deadline makes one crazy, and I had gone far by virtue of being able to make quick, good decisions. This one wasn't good, and could have cost my employer everything, and ruined the publication, since we were (at that time) operating on the slimmest of margins and this action was clearly indefensible.

I didn't even get fired, thanks to the big heart and broad mind of the publisher, but as relatively insignificant as it may seem, it was one of the great lessons of my life and has has actually had a huge influence on the rest of my life when I consider the whole range of education I received via the original mistake, the decision of the artist, the response of the publisher... etc.
posted by taz at 5:34 AM on October 16, 2003

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