The only way to solve a problem is to first admit there is one.
I come from a long line of Southern women who can completely ignore a problem and carry on like a rock, but unfortunately, I do not share the same constitution.
When I was young and things were really tight financially, my mom had a car that was so busted up and rusted out, there was a hole in the passenger side floor of the back seat. You could see asphalt whizzing by. It completely terrified my younger brothers, and I was more than a little cautious of sitting in the seat above it.
My mom put the car seat on that side, so the person sitting above the hole didn’t have much chance of losing a foot, because they were strapped into a baby seat. We watched the hole grow, with morbid fascination, and my mom just kept right on ignoring it.
My brother became apoplectic when we were transporting our first live Christmas tree, because he was absolutely certain it was going to be sucked through the hatchback down into the hole.
“Why is your brother crying? Stop making him cry!”
“He’s crying because he’s afraid the Christmas tree is going to fall through the hole in the floor, Mom. GAH!”
“Well, put that paper plate over the hole and calm him down! We’re supposed to be happy today, we got a Christmas tree!”
Fast forward a few years to the same woman, fussing over a loose seat in the car her precious granddaughter is transported in. When I reminded her of the gaping hole in floorboard of the car I spent a great deal of my own childhood in, she asked, “Did you die?”
Needless to say, we did not have a long, involved talk about my feelings regarding the hole because apparently the standard of parenting for the 70’s was, “Just don’t let them die.”
I’m not bitter. The hole made me stronger. It also taught me valuable lessons on trajectory and wind speed.
I tend to be a little more direct in my problem-solving. I look for the soft spot in a problem and poke a stick in it. This is not a recommended plan of action, nor even close to the right way to do things most of the time, so it’s a good thing I don’t have many problems.
George has a hat problem. There. I said it. He cannot resist buying baseball hats – his hat collection is legion. He has umpteen hats, from all over the country and from every manufacturer of every trucking product and publication you can think of, and yet, he wears only one of them. This is the conversation we have every time he buys a hat:
“You’re not going to buy a hat, are you?”
“As a matter or fact, I am. I like this hat.”
“Why do you need so many hats? You wear your Ohio State hat every day. You only have one head.”
“You have 40 pairs of shoes.”
“That’s a flagrant lie.” (Side note: I do not consider boots to be shoes and vice versa, so my actual “shoe” count is well below 40. Harumph.)
“And you wear your boots most of the time.”
This is where I poke a stick in his leg, because I know I can’t win the argument and I need to rectify the situation.
See how the warning I gave about my problem solving skills kind of fits in here? It’s called “foreshadowing.” Now put a paper plate over the hole and hush.
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