Another four-letter word to avoid

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

Whether it’s sports, or politics, or just finding socks that match, there’s one four-letter word I look to avoid. Fail.

The verb has gained traction as a noun, as character-reducing techies have decided “failure” is less forceful.

Former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum called Sunday’s healthcare bill passage as he saw it: a Republican fail. The GOP delegation could have worked with the Obama administration, but threw all of its chips towards total defeat of legislation they didn’t have the votes to defeat.

Sen. Jim DeMint once said he wanted healthcare to be Obama’s “Waterloo,” as Frum was quick to recall Sunday.

“Those of us who said … we can work with this, there are things we don’t like, (but) President Obama will pay a lot maybe for 20 or 30 Republican votes, let’s deal — that was shut down,” Frum said Sunday on MSNBC. “We went the radical way, looking for (Obama’s) Waterloo, and it looks like we arrived at Waterloo.”

But have no fear, Republicans. There are chances before November.

What’s worse is not owning up to a fail. When the Orlando Magic upset the Cleveland Cavaliers last year, LeBron James took a shot to his reputation when he left the court without congratulating Orlando and skipped the press conference. (In James’ defense, the press conference was the first time his teammates did anything for him that series.)

Now James is known as a player who’s never won, and one who lacks the toughness to deal with it. But have no fear, Cavs fans, for the playoffs come around in a matter of weeks.

Those four letters, F-A-I-L, have a hold on how we’re perceived. Ordinary Americans are just as vulnerable as senators, speechwriters and NBA All-Stars.

The site FailBlog is dedicated to photos of abject failure, and FailBooking gives Facebook users a chance to share times when those status updates backfire (don’t post you’re “in a relationship” unless she gives you permission).

So, in an attempt to make myself a better person, or at least give you a cheap laugh, I’ll document some of my recent fails before somebody beats me to it:

• Due to a business trip, I was a week behind watching “24.” My friends never made that trip, and they weren’t behind on “24,” and we were all using Twitter. They Tweeted. “Wow, CTU taken out by an EMP. Total surprise ending.” He apologized, but I told him he wasn’t responsible for my Isolation Fail.

• My NCAA men’s bracket hasn’t gone well, leading me to post obscene Facebook statuses about said bracket. When somebody suggested I could just change the bracket, I said that would reveal poor character. Another friend asked, “Well, what kind of character are you showing resorting to obscenity?” Bracket busted, status busted, Social Network Fail.

• Made to get up earlier than normal on a Saturday, I responded by filling my stomach with coffee. And more coffee. And Diet Dr. Pepper. And a Diet Pepsi. Tired all day, wide awake at bedtime, contemplating my Caffeine Fail.

• I’m pretending I’ve only failed three times in the last week. What an Honesty Fail.