Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Random Memory

One Friday night after work I was in line at the bank, sitting in the worst car I ever owned, a 1971 Chevy Vega. The little four cylinder engine was clack-a-lacking away as the line inched forward in the heat and exhaust fumes.

A drunk guy came up to me and said "Excuse me. You need some Rislone for that engine." I did not know what to say to him. He was not threatening in anyway, but how many times are we going to take advice from strangers, advice from drunk strangers, advice from drunk strangers about our cars that are only running by some miracle of seventh heaven in the first place?

Apparently, my blank stare made him self conscious. He straightened himself as best he could and said "I know I don't look like it, but I am a mechanic."

He described in great detail what a bottle of Rislone looked like, where I could get it and what it would do for the knocking in the engine. I can not recall now if I took his advice. I doubt if I did. But, I have always remembered he said, "I know I don't look like it, but ..." It is as good an excuse as any for just about everything in life.

How many times in our lives when we have been whipped, defeated, broken hearted, disappointed, despairing, wounded, discouraged (well, you get the idea) and felt like saying: "I know I don't look like it, but I am usually much smarter than this."

"I know I don't look like it, but I am a good mother," I wanted to say when my hyperactive, attention deficit, five year old son ran down the aisles in the book store.

"I know I don't look like it, but I am a nice person," I wanted to say when I was handcuffed and hauled to jail after telling a policeman to *bleep* off.

"I know I don't look like it, but I am someone who does the best I can all the time, even when I know my best is not good enough."

That is my story and I am sticking with it.

One good thing about that Vega - the universe finally took pity on me and sent a tornado to hurl it through the dining room wall at my boyfriend's house. Buh bye!


Anonymous said...

From "A Plea for the Freedom of Dissent":

“By some happy fortuity,man is a projector, a designer, a builder, a craftsman; it is among his most dependable joys to impose upon the Flux that passes before him some
mark of himself…His reward is not so much in the work as in its making; not so much in the prize as in the race. We may win when we lose, if we have done what we can; for, by so doing,we have made real at least some part of that finished product in whose fabrication we are most concerned—ourselves. And if at the end some friendly critic shall pass by and say,'my friend, how good a job do you really think you have made of it all?' we can answer: 'I know as well as you it might not of high quality, but I did put into it whatever I had, and that was the game I started out to play' .
-- Learned Hand --

For 40 years that's been my all-time favorite quote ... and I'm sticking to it!


Anonymous said...

Oh, and Rislone might have helped a lot!