Archive for Thursday, July 23, 2009

Surviving mistakes

July 23, 2009

While it is difficult to admit, there are some things which we extremely mature persons can no longer accomplish. While never admitting to old age — that’s just a state of mind — I know that I cannot race up steps, play a competitive game of basketball or crawl around the floor. Come to think of it, I’m not sure I need any of the above talents.

There are some things I could never do well and certainly have no intention of trying to master now that I’m extremely mature. One of these skills is singing. I have never been able to sing and in kindergarten was told I had a loud, monotone voice. I haven’t the foggiest idea of where to find the right tone and I cannot read music, and it is as foreign to me as a newspaper printed in Danish.

I had one friend who said he believed that anyone could be taught to sing until he met me. If I could have learned, it would have been as big a job as digging Hoover Dam.

Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes am moved by the music and join in. However, if I do, I sing very, very quietly.

Sometimes I have learned about a lack of talent the hard way. I remember when we were living in Mulvane we had a bathroom done in pink, including lavatory and commode. Well, it seems I was assigned to change the toilet seat and we were able to find a pink, matching replacement. If you remember, the metal bolts in the old toilet seats often became corroded and were very hard to remove. I struggled with a particularly uncooperative bolt that absolutely refused to turn loose. I spent several uncomfortable minutes in a cramped area battling and saying naughty things, however, the bolt wouldn’t budge.

I decided on a new plan of action and that I should take a hammer and pound on the end of the wrench to break it loose. While in theory that sounds like a good idea, in practice it wasn’t. Now, maybe the problem was my bad aim, since I missed the wrench and whacked the commode. The commode immediately broke, sending a gusher of water across the bathroom floor and me to the dog house.

Actually, I enjoy working in the yard, but my wife will quickly tell you that I need supervision. I am very good at digging holes, moving rocks and planting trees. However, my problem is distinguishing a weed from a flower. To me, Pampas grass appears to be grass out of control. Sadly, I learned the difference after I whacked some. I have also learned that you can weed whack too close to flowers. I don’t know why, but sometimes the prettiest flowers always get too close to the weed-whacker, with disastrous results. I have learned that you cannot stick a flower that has been cut off back in the ground and expect it to retain its beauty. I have also learned that wives who are gardening experts can spot a replanted flower in an instant.

When it comes to gardening, I am a willing, but unskilled, worker with limited knowledge. I love flowers and trees and I really enjoy mowing the lawn if, of course, I have a detailed map showing the location of all flowers and anything that isn’t a weed.

Another area in which I have limited, or maybe non-existent, talents would be auto mechanics. Actually, after years of driving and having cars maintained, I often know the problem; it is the solution which puzzles me. If I have a break down on the highway, I always open the hood. Now I don’t know how to solve the problem, but opening the hood might fool anyone I know into thinking I have a clue about what is going on.

No, through years of trial and error and embarrassing mistakes, I decided that the best lesson I ever learned about auto mechanics and, for that matter, many other problems, is to know the number of a competent professional who can solve the problem.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.