Don Locke: Looking Through Bifocals
Someone said we can never look down a new road with the same ease and comfort an old familiar one brings. We can never be fully prepared for that which is wholly new. There was a Russian novelist, a guy by the name of Dostoeviski (If you can pronounce it let me know too.), who put it this way “Taking a new step, uttering a new word is what people fear most.”
For Eric Hoffer (author and philosopher) even the change from picking peas to picking beans was, as he said, “for him had its elements of fear.” Hoffer was at one time an itinerant fruit and vegetable picker in California, “For the first time I was going to pick string beans. I still remember how hesitant I was the first morning as I was about to address myself to the string bean vines. Would I be able to pick string beans?” (Hang on this may go somewhere)
Whether we want to admit it or not, to an extent we are all somewhat dubious when it comes to a new road, it may be a new school, a new boss, a new job or the first day in the military.
A general stopped a new recruit and demanded to know why the boy failed to salute him. The general proceeded to dress him down royally, then ended his chewing-out with, “How long have you been in the Army soldier?”
“Alllll-day long,” the boy answered.
We are more comfortable with where we are, than going to an unfamiliar place. Saint Peter was showing a new arrival around Heaven, everything looked wonderful to the new guy. Eventually they came to a room-full of people all chained to a wall, weeping and wailing. Furious with anger, the new resident demanded an explanation as to what the heck was going on.
“Oh that,” said Saint Peter, “these folks are Southerners; this is Friday and they all want to go home for the weekend.”
I got a new electric typewriter for Christmas (I didn’t know they still made them.) I loved my old ancient electric; I knew its foibles and gremlins. The rub was I was about to go to the poorhouse buying WD-40, keeping the old thing going. What an “Ordeal of Change” it was when it gasped its last breath. I put it in a chair on the front porch… sort of a status symbol I guess, like back when folks use to put their wringer-washing machines on the front porch. Kinda’ sad. There it sits, looking forlorn. Lately I noticed a squirrel had hidden a walnut down inside its innerds. But I’ve finally come to terms with my new machine, with the help of the operating manual. I’ve decided it’s not going to jump-up and bite me.
Back in my hometown of Greenville, Jesse Vincent drove a forklift for a wholesale grocery company. Not long before he retired the company bought all new forklifts--- they were quieter, and were operated altogether by foot pedals. Jesse wanted to keep his old one, the one he’d had all those years. It was loud, and the side gear let-out a terrible squall every time you pulled it up to lift a loaded pallet. The other workers got to calling him, “Side-gear Vincent”: “You could always tell what part of the building Side-gear was in; cause when he pulled up on his lift it sounded like two mad wildcats in a gunny sack.
We like what we know and are at ease with. I suppose that’s why first-wife Bett takes me to task sometimes when I wear raggedy underwear.
I’ve said all this to say, I’m going to be looking down a new road, together with good friends, John Embry and Diane Dyer. But I can hasten to say I look with no disquiet or anxiety on this; I have worked with these good people before.
TRAIL TIP #7: Always drink up-stream of the herd, and NEVER squat with your spurs on.