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.