Monday, June 29, 2015

Ad Infinitum

Summer is upon us and that means yard work. I have a massive pile of timber planks and dying bushes to chainsaw. But I can't get my chainsaw started. I don't work well with small engines. Or big engines. Or any kind of engines.

2-stroke engines require you to mix oil in with your gasoline, and if you aren't careful--and I seldom am--and leave the mixture in for a long period, it will clog up the gas line and carburetor. Of course that's what happened to me. I left the gas in the saw over the winter and low and behold, it won't start.

So after trying every solution that a mechanically illiterate person can--removed and cleaned the spark plug, replaced the gas, did a rain dance at midnight under a full moon--I cursingly got the chainsaw to start.

Yeah! In freshman literature, we'd call this conflict man vs. machine. I'd call it man vs. self, or better yet, man vs. laziness and stupidity.

I revved the hell out of the engine, partly to clear the gas line, but more to repair my bruised ego by impersonating a rowdy lumberjack. I'm lucky I didn't saw off a limb.

So after about four hours and three stops at the local hardware store, I was successful. I could now go on to saw until sunset.

Not really.

Because now I needed bar oil, a special oil to allow the chain to spin without burning out. So I cut for about twenty minutes until I was fairly certain that the spit-drop of remaining bar oil was running dangerously low.

And that's the way it is with life--we no sooner overcome one hurdle than another appears. What did we expect, life to be like a video game where we finish one final act and are done forever? That's called death. Life continues until it doesn't. We're not done with acts until we finish the big Act, and then as far as I know it's like Hamlet says, "The rest is silence."

Or maybe not. I don't know; I'm not dead.

What I learning is that life is a journey about learning how to live. Some people learn faster and are more adept at navigating and accepting life's hurdles. Then there are people like me who are pretty much in the remedial class version of the journey, supplemented with three sessions of summer school.

Problems are only problems if we view them as problems. Besides holidays and vacations, Mondays are the first day of most people's work week. The sun rises, the alarm clock sounds, we wake up, make our beds (or not), and brush our teeth.

We're only done brushing when we have no more teeth to brush or there is no one to brush them. Until then, enjoy the bumps; I'm on my way to the store to buy some bar oil.

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