Monday, September 12, 2016


I used to watch a show on the Discovery channel called How It's Made. It was a show that followed the construction and assembly of common everyday items, like a toaster, a computer, or a car transmission. It was a fascinating show not only because it was interesting to see how these things were made, but by the calm, implacable demeanor of the workers as they casually and effortlessly assembled, for example, a sheet metal press or jackhammer. Everything came together so smoothly and perfectly, with a minimum of blood sweat, and tears, it was nearly hypnotic.

I contrast this with my own efforts at auto-repair, for example, or home improvement projects - the sweat in your eyes, the yanking and pulling, the cursing and banging and cries of pain. Now, I know the men on television assemble these items every day, that they have it down to a process, knowing exactly by rote which pieces need to be assembled in which order, and that new parts have a minimum of dirt and grit and old worn-out grease on them making them slippery and harder to handle. These men have been given the right tools for the job, and everything being brand new and highly maintained, of course assembly goes exactly as planned. Whereas I am more often than not making due with whatever I find in a toolbox that probably hasn't been updated since the Civil War.

There is also a combination of factors that I think contribute a lot to making such efforts more difficult for me than they should be. Combine the fact that mounting frustration tends to cause an erosion of coordination and dexterity, with my own sheer stubbornness and refusal to walk away and cool off when I should. I begin to think of the things I'm fighting as living, even conscious forces deliberately resisting me or fighting my efforts. Now understand, I know this is not the case, it only begins to seem that way. I'm not crazy.

What's more, there is a point at which I become self-aware, I know my anger and frustration have reached the level of being counterproductive. But do I stop, even then?

I admire these calm, collected, quiet workers, on that show and others. I have tried to be more like that. I like to think I'm making progress.

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