If Only I'd Listened To Virtually AnyoneCommentary • Opinion • ISSUE 46•08 • Feb 25, 2010 By Simone Reed I can't believe I did it again. They tried to tell me—all of them did—but I didn't heed any of their warnings. Why do I have to be so stubborn? Why won't I just take every single person seriously?My best friend, Sheila, she's been telling me that I should really start taking the advice of any of the practically hundreds of people who offer it to me on a weekly basis, but do I listen to her? Of course not.So here I am, too ashamed to admit to each individual that I've ever encountered in my entire life that I was wrong.See, I've somehow made a habit of turning a deaf ear to virtually everyone. Like the time I didn't listen to Bob, or Uncle Steve, or Grandpa, or Grandma, or Bob's wife. They had good advice, and I ignored it. All they wanted was to help. Them and Tom and Gloria and Roy and the guy at the donut shop and Huang and Colonel Davidson and the doctor on TV.No matter how many times they all tell me, I keep going around thinking I'm some big shot who knows better than, almost to the number, every member of the human race. I just wish I'd paused a moment, taken a deep breath, and actually listened several thousand times to those around me! My coworker Neil, Barbara from Sacramento, those online survey results, my psychic, anyone.I always do this to myself and those who live, work, or are casually associated with me!If only I'd listened to my parents when I was young. Or a guidance counselor. Or the spelling team coach in seventh grade. Or that priest after my first marriage. Or to that one guy I met on the street, never learned the name of, and only spoke to for five minutes. All of those people had more common sense than I ever did.And how many were there? Hundreds, perhaps thousands? Any sentient being within earshot could have told me my crazy schemes couldn't possibly work, would fail miserably, and would leave my life in total disarray.But did I pay them any mind? Nope.I didn't listen to Gail, or Becky, or Mr. Haverscham, or his lawyer, or the salesman at the used car lot who actually tried to stop me from buying that Corolla with 400,000 miles on it. I didn't listen to my accountant, my ob-gyn, or my anesthesiologist. I didn't listen to my college roommate, or the tour guide at the Lincoln Memorial, or the Secret Service agents.Grrr! I never listen to everybody!My earliest memories, from age 4, are of people trying to talk some sense into me, and me not paying any attention. Is it any wonder I fell down that well? Played tetherball with that downed power line? Did I take them seriously when they said there was no market for open-toed dress shoes for men? Or when the entire population of the United States agreed a nationwide pasta-burger franchise had no chance of succeeding? No, I didn't. And here I am today, totally out of luck with nothing but these stupid orange parachute pants and 1,400 chinchilla embryos to show for it.Why didn't I listen to Jill? And then to Jill again, two months later? And then to Frank, Amanda, and that one gay couple whose names I always get confused? And then Jill again? Why do I always think I'm right all the time, when everyone—I mean everyone from Albert Einstein to the playground full of developmentally disabled children down the block—keeps trying to set me straight?"No," said Greg, Cindy, Joe, and even some of the smarter dogs I've met. "That's just a bad idea all around, Simone! Don't do it!" And yet, what did I do? It. Ad infinitum.I simply don't pay anyone or anything any mind: not the IRS, not the NRA, not any traffic cops, ever, not that supermarket checkout girl or the roomful of Chippendales dancers. Not the Bible, the Talmud, the Koran, or the Necronomicon. Not even that book of cartoon penguins I had when I was 8.Why? Why does this keep happening to me? I'm such an idiot! Such a stupid idiot! And if you don't agree, keep it to yourself, because I honestly do not want to hear it right now.