Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Some thoughts on smashing things with a hammer.



Don't let this happen to you!

I saw this today and chuckled myself into a coughing fit.  I can relate to it very well as I'm sure you can.   As I was laughing thinking on all the times I had this feeling when something stuck me; I hadn't felt that for a long time.  

I don't mean I can't remember the last time something went catastrophic on me, that was about 20 minutes ago with a pot of boiling coffee.  I mean I can't remember the last time I had the typical reaction.

CHARACTER REVEAL: I used to be pretty hair-trigger.  If something went wrong I'd explode in a fit of chaotic rage and throw anything in my vicinity that wasn't bolted to the floor.  Sometimes I tried to lift something bolted to the floor and watched as my testicles rolled under a bookshelf leaving me writhing in pain.  

That hasn't happened in quite some time.  Here's the thing; I can't figure out why.  My father was hardwired to over react.  If he dropped his keys he'd put his foot through the wall.  I learned that.  It was easy, it was fun and it drove everyone away from me.  

The sequence would go something like this: I'd have something in my shirt pocket.  I'd drop my keys, bend to grab them and on the way up, I'd drop what was in my shirt pocket.  On trip to the floor number 2 I'd hit my head on something on the way back up.  The coffee flew, I'd rip the pocket off my shirt and my keys would be vibrating to a stop, stuck in the wall (or on one case, a window).  

TIP: The above-mentioned behavior is a great way to make sure your friend list hovered around zero to one.  

Why don't I react like that anymore?  I had to think for a second, then a minute.  Then it occurred to me, chaos occurs every day.  Something is always going wrong.  I just simply stopped keeping track of it or letting it get to me.  Because it always happens.  Because it can always get worse and sometimes it does but so what?  When it got really bad I'd find myself paralyzed staring out the window muttering to myself but now when disaster strikes I find myself actually solving the problem without destroying something.

Today's example; Last week, I took a 30 minute drive to the art supply store to replace the  permanent markers I use  for Ollie's paintings.  I tried a less expensive brand.  I got home, did my drawing and started painting - and watched the black ink bleed all over the page I just spent an hour working on. 

LESSON: "Permanent" doesn't necessarily mean "waterproof".  

Old me would have reveled in the challenge of tearing the page into uncountable microscopic bits then smashing the markers with my father's "special" hammer.  However - I took a breath, just one and retraced the drawing with the old marker.  

Part II- The next day I took the 30 minute trip to the store to make an exchange.  Their site said they open at 9AM.  I got there at 10:30 to find they really open at noon.  Old me would have driven the car through the window, exchanged the markers and left an apologetic note about the window.  Instead, I took a breath, two, drove home, did another drawing and went back at noon.  Case closed. 
This new transformation may seem mundane to you because you're not a lunatic raised by lunatics but for me it was a huge step.  

What's the lesson here?  Chaos, unpredictable disappointment and unwanted deviations are a constant.  When it strikes you, take a second to evaluate the ease of a solution.  Chances are it's not as bad as you think.  

How you choose to react to them makes the difference between getting on with your day or spending it reaching for your testicles under a bookshelf while you try to bring your voice back down to a normal register. 

5 comments:

  1. Bravo!!! Amazing, riveting story. And great lesson for all.

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  2. Excellent quotes and great advice. As I grow older I get more mellow about the crap that happens. I also become more oblivious. When I don't care about stuff as much then it's easy to be oblivious.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I've noticed both of those things with age. And also how much heavier a hammer seems...

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  3. Awww...you're growing up! Yeah, I get the whole "lunatic raised by lunatics" thing. I think all NY Italians have a bit of a temper. I have definitely mellowed out since moving out of Staten Island. That Island is nuts btw. Plus, my husband is the most laid back mellow guy, and it rubs off a bit. It's nicer on this side of things...stay on this side for a while Tommy!
    ~Katie
    TheCyborgMom

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    1. Growing up? Never! Staten Island is still referred to as The Land That Time Forgot. And not in a good way.

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