Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I don’t know if you’ve ever had one of those days when things get awfully busy, even meddlesome. Lately I feel like that charred duck running about trying to put out forest fires. Now someone needs to put out the flaming duck! Getting on top of one’s affairs is not an easy undertaking especially for someone who abhors the merest disturbance or interruption of a treasured routine. Yet life proves again and again to be quite disinterested in such preferences! One is left to hang onto one’s hat and enjoy the ride!

Fortunately there is a method for rescuing one’s self from these deep waters, but there is an initial struggle required. Whenever I am confronted with a dilemma my first reaction is surprise that it even occurred. You’d think I imagined that nothing could ever go wrong, as though my obsessive efforts were sufficient to close the door on any provocation. And yet trouble arises. Once I’ve overcome my alarm I tend to brood a while, puzzling over the state of uncertainty, often facing equally unfavourable options which do little to advance my position. Finally, however, I admit defeat (or at the very least succumb to the reality of what has happened) and begin my plan to palliate the hardship. This usually means thinking about whom I might hire to address the problem on my behalf. Other than my personal problems (for which I recognize that I alone am the caretaker) most of my difficult situations involve matters which others are better suited to resolve. Take cars, for example, clearly not an area in which I have any expertise whatsoever; although admittedly it takes more than a little time before I confess the blunt truth of the quandary. Invariably I preface the admission by pretending the perplexity doesn’t exist. It is sadly true that many people seek to deceive themselves as a cure for their ailment. This never works for long. It is at best a sedative. In the end this behaviour is doomed to failure and it becomes imperative to address the consternation head-on and, as I say, hopefully with professional and qualified advice. The alleviation is often no more complicated than allowing others to shoulder the weight of the puzzle; otherwise we get snagged. Life is simply too short to have the answer to everything.

Unburdening one’s self of the concern also enables the very real and often enlightened views of others to come to bear upon it. It is quite surprising how readily we mistakenly assure ourselves of the propriety of our own uneducated knowledge. This if nothing else is an invitation to sleeplessness. However, the mere act of tackling a conundrum can go far to restore one’s shaken confidence.

In the realm of “do-it-yourself” misguided conduct abounds. And yet so many of us persist in believing that no task is too adventurous for us to handle. What rot! I say, step aside, let he who is trained in unraveling such convolution attend to it! Deputation is empowerment both of others and ourselves! Perhaps one day we may even enjoy like privilege from others who defer to our own essential knowledge, whatever it may be. In the meantime we needn’t suppose our talents qualify us as an authority upon every subject.

Some people fashion themselves the renaissance man. This for the most part is more rubbish! On the whole our scope is far narrower than we might prefer to imagine. Having said that, I acknowledge that some people are of exceptional and eclectic ability. These unique creatures do not however abound. For those of us who tend more to the middle of the road than the margins, it is best to avoid undue self-flattery.

It is perhaps an accident of education that we unwittingly cultivate a sense of inability in all but what we have studied or been trained to do. On the other hand some people have sought to broaden their horizons sufficiently to empower themselves in even the most esoteric matters. I find that such people tend to be more abstract thinkers, and as a result they are able to formulate generalized templates of conduct which they apply to a wide variety of situations. A moment’s reflection no doubt reveals that the theory for resolving most problems is essentially the same, though I won’t pretend to have the key. For my part I am satisfied to confine my abilities to that which comes most naturally and, frankly, with the least effort. It is not beneath me to be adjudged incompetent!

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