Life’s Little Lessons

Class, today’s lecture will focus on that adorable 1967 admonition, “If you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem.”  I can see you rolling your eyes, but bear with me for a moment because I am certain you’ll come away enlightened and energized.

Take vacuuming.

Got your attention now, haven’t I? I’m sure, if you’ve followed this blog, you’ve read posts by a certain person whom I’ll refer to as The Whiner. She kvetches endlessly about how she hates the chore, yet also would like to rid her floors of dust bunnies, a collection of which would qualify for petting zoo status. Months–yes, months–go by and she ignores the chore, keeping her gaze at least two feet off the floor, writing in her journal how the house is driving her crazy, promising herself that Today Will Be the Day.

But no. It never is.

So this morning, she’s determined to wrangle that beast, even going so far as to sing, “I’m going to vacuum today, I’m going to vacuum today,” in the shower, hoping to trick her brain into thinking it would be fun. The brain is so easily fooled: it doesn’t know the difference between imagining something and actually doing it.

After an hour of “pencil sharpening,” as it were, shaking out the sofa covering and putting it in the wash, moving things from one spot to another, she plugs the thing in, and begins with the stairs to the second floor. Soon enough, in that closed stairwell, her brain knows it’s been taken for a ride. “Goddamn noise,” she curses, much like her grandmother who vented her well-earned anger at her grandfather, as she cleaned her O’Keefe and Merritt white stove within an inch of its life, filling the air with daisy chains of words strung together that evoke the German language. Donaudampfschiffahrts­elektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamten­gesellschaft handily comes to mind.  (Translation: “Association of sub-ordinate officials of the head office management of the Danube steamboat electrical services.” Her grandmother’s bursts of temper were more terse, however, and leaned more toward the “Goddamnsonofabitchinbastardgoddamnit”-style, always tacking whatever particular grievance or grievances spurred her on to the task.

Oh, our friend can throw in her own grievances–the house is too Goddamn small, she doesn’t have enough Goddamn money to hire someone to clean it, it gets so Goddamn dirty so fast–but she doesn’t have the luxury of someone to blame, like her grandmother did. That’s when her brain switches from victim to activist. And, what it comes up with is staggering in both its genius and simplicity. Why hasn’t she thought of this before? Why isn’t it on the lips of everyone who’s suffered silently (or at least, whiningly)?

It is as if a voice from above speaks in stentorian tones:  Earplugs. Yes, earplugs! Can you imagine? For at least six decades she’s bitched and moaned, and now that unmufflered Harley racket is reduced to a cat’s soothing purr. She’s part of the solution now! 

And, Class, each and every one of you can make that leap as well. The next time you’re bitching and moaning about something you loath doing, no matter what it is–washing dishes, cutting the grass, cleaning the bathroom, changing the cat litter, paying bills–don’t try to fool your brain, because it never works. Instead, make a mad dash for earplugs. 

Yes, earplugs. Such a simple solution, one that spirits you away from being part of the problem.





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2 responses to “Life’s Little Lessons

  1. aldaonthehill

    Hooray! Earplugs! For Whiners!!

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