The Journal of Failure Vol. 1, by Fellow Traveler Jeff Krantz

Jeff Krantz is a member of our White Collar Support Group that meets online on Zoom on Monday evenings. We will celebrate our 300th meeting on March 14, 2022, 7 pm ET, 4 pm PT.


Reprinted from Medium, Feb. 18, 2022

“…They’ve got a name for the winners of the world, I want a name when I lose”

An Introduction

Even without wading too deeply into the sea of affirmational pablum that populates the internet, particularly that which lives on in the self-publishing platforms of Medium and Substack; the trend of couching one’s topic of choice, within a format of bullet-pointed, Panglossian optimism, is pervasive and appears to be the prevailing method of acquiring the number of readers necessary to give voice to one’s literary aspirations and maybe earn oneself a couple of bucks to supplement a day job’s wages to boot.

Admittedly I’ve based my observations above on an impossibly minuscule sample size that in no way should be mistaken for something that could be substantiated with any plausible, statistical credence. To be blunt, my conjecture is wrong. Wrong and easily disproven for any one who’d like to have a go. The research is perfunctory with enough factual truth to keep things on the rails. All in all, it’s a nice piece of writing that fails.

Most stories of failure that come over the transom, tend to be tales of those who have overcome impossible obstacles while bucking stiff odds. Defeat arises to amplify victory, mutating into validation; a banner of triumphant determination in the face of sacrifice. Stories of true failure are rendered quietly. The soundtrack of defeat lacks an orchestra. There is no moment of uplifting accompaniment. It’s a day-by-day grind, that eventually wears smooth.

Failure stands in stubborn opposition to articles like: “Grit is a Key Ingredient for Success”

Over the past ten years I have frequently been wrong and wronged, both mundanely and spectacularly. Much of my experience, whether voluntarily or compelled, has been re-examined as anecdotes recounted to a predictable cast of recipients: family members, friends, lawyers, therapists, doctors, and support groups. All of whom, to a lesser or greater degree, have, seemingly, had only my best interests at heart. In my recountings of defeat, there have been moments of petty ridiculousness and those of life-altering tragedy. The implications of these stories have burrowed deeply within my mind; hibernating only now and again to deliver moments of occasional respite for my otherwise preoccupied mind. I hold no illusion that attempting to exorcise the collection of failures stored securely in the terrariums, bell jars and shadow boxes of my mind where such things are maintained and where I spend far too much time and where they occupy far too much space, will be a futile endeavor. Maybe I can reduce their footprint some, perhaps they’ll become a bit more subdued.

I don’t have a plan for this, the little corner of the self-publishing world that I appear to be claiming, but whatever it turns into, (if anything) I don’t foresee telling it in order, I will, however, try to to give enough context so you have some idea where you’ve landed in the narrative. I absolutely promise to leave out the punchy, bullet-pointed sentences and the optimistic promise that some aspect of your life can be resolved reading whatever I put forth in seven hundred and fifty words or so.

In this the most dubious of worlds everything happens dubiously”