Everybody makes mistakes.
Some people make bigger mistakes than others, though.
Take my mother, for example.
For some time, my mother would meet men on the Internet and date them. They were mostly nice, if kind of bizarre. And then there was Don.
Don was a truck-driving, chain-smoking, white-trash loser. He had a few good qualities, I think. He taught driver's education, so he did at least contribute something to society. In a manner of speaking.
But ultimately, when this man moved into our house a scant few months after he and my mother met, my sister and I were repulsed. She wouldn't let him smoke in the house, at least, but the stench was everywhere. He brought in his computer setup, complete with gaming chair - speakers strapped to the sides, mousepad on one side, joystick on the other, not a single legal piece of software on the monster it was hooked up to. And he put it in our dining room. And he put his computer pieces all over the dining room. And he sat in there when he wasn't truck driving, and played computer games. And he never brushed his teeth, and he rarely showered, and he ate our food, and he used our water and our heat and all that, and he never volunteered a dime to help out. This man was repugnant. Vermin. He had a million "great ideas" that he would never finish, and a whole lot of creativity that occasionally showed up in spurts, like when he wrote a song for Mom, but for the most part he was content to freeload. For months.
He would come in after driving his truck, at 11:00 at night, or later, and holler out "Ruthie, I'm hungry." And my mother, who was valedictorian in her high school class, has a college education and at least one (if not two) master's degrees; who had to be up at 6:00 the next morning to get ready to go teach a classroom full of 28-30 hyperactive fifth-grade children; who is an intelligent woman apparently suffering from some kind of short-term brain dysfunction insofar as this man was concerned, would get out of bed, come downstairs, and fix this man some bacon and eggs, or hamburgers, or whatever he wanted.
My sister no longer wanted her friends staying overnight for fear their parents would learn what sort of hideous example my mother was being and ban them from seeing her. I was away at school, in part, and had much less to do with him, but both of us threatened that we were going to move to our father's house permanently. That seemed to wake her up, and she finally came around. It took months to get the stench of cigarette smoke out of the house. She was still apologising to us a year later. Last we heard of Don, he was back living in small-town Indiana with his mother, and he had some kind of plan to do a travelling Punch and Judy show.
This is not love, boys and girls. This is some sort of medically treatable brain dysfunction. I remain convinced that if my sister and I had sought professional assistance, we could have shaken her out of her stupor much sooner. As it was, I think we all learned a valuable lesson involving the futility of talking to a woman who thinks she's in love. Including the woman in question.
We all make mistakes.
Some of them, fortunately, do not require the firm application of a two-by-four to the skull to resolve.