I feel like Walter White. In many ways, the parallels are uncanny; I could write an entire book on the subject. I mean, let’s face it, I’m a villain, right? Granted, I understand that this moniker may be my own personal overdramatization of who I am in the eyes of many people — but am I wrong?
I don’t like being the bad guy, and I miss being the good guy. But here’s the problem with that: I’m the bad guy now, living a good life. When I was the good guy (the respected teacher, husband, colleague, mentor, etc.), I was secretly an evil son of a bitch. So even though I was perceived as good, I was pretty fucking bad. And now that I’m widely-despised, I’m actually living the moral life I should have been living in the first place.
I’m not sure if that’s irony or not, but it’s definitely interesting.
The high school where I committed my crime is the same high school from which I graduated in 1998. These days, the school colors tend to be Navy Blue & White. But when I was there, the blue was much lighter. Call it “Columbia Blue,” call it “Sky Blue,” call it “Baby Blue.” The letterman jackets now are navy blue. Mine, from the 90s, is baby blue.
Always remember one thing: Actions today are memories tomorrow. I had great memories of being in high school, until I ruined it all by committing the crime which resulted in the end of my career, my imprisonment, my branding, and my tattered reputation.
Breaking Bad ranks #3 in my all-time favorite television dramas (barely behind #2: The West Wing & #1 House MD; just ahead of #4, This Is Us), and when I saw the way the show ended — and the song they chose — I felt every last bit of Walter White’s sentimental pain at the moment he died.
Watch: [SPOILER ALERT, OBVIOUSLY]
The song used in this finale scene is “Baby Blue” by Badfinger. And fittingly, the beginning lyrics say, “Guess I got what I deserved.” Yep. I understand that sentiment perfectly.
Here’s another wrinkle: The standard-issue garb in prison is blue jeans and baby blue t-shirts. I wore a baby blue t-shirt for twenty-five months. And when I came home, I essentially vowed to never wear a baby blue t-shirt again (although, admittedly, I have a few now).
However, none of that changes the fact that this one color seems to evoke memories in my subconscious which fade from happily-reminiscent to depressingly-regretful as I think about the good times I had as a high school student, only to have those memories shattered by the destructive choices I made as a high school teacher in the same building.
I guess I got what I deserved.
But now, every happy memory I have of being a high school student is scarred by the regrets of being a high school teacher.
I suppose my overall point is this: Our choices today are our memories tomorrow. My memories aren’t just memories; they’re reminders and regrets, and they never go away. Your choices today matter! I wish I’d known in 2010 how much my choices would resonate for decades (and beyond). It’s a simple concept that we often tend to overlook. But it’s so true. “What we do in life echoes in eternity,” according to Maximus Decimus Meridius in Gladiator. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way, and it only gets more difficult with each passing day.
So, I suppose, as the song’s concluding verse says…
“Guess that’s all I have to say,
Except the feeling just gets stronger every day.“