The other day, much to my chagrin, I discovered that my car's battery was dead. As a man of action, I popped the hood and dug through the glorious disarray of my garage to find my trickle charger, hooked it up to the battery and walked next door to ask if I could borrow my girlfriend's mother's car to take my girlfriend to work (they live next door...a source of simultaneous convenience and consternation).
As we were preparing to leave in the borrowed car, I noticed I didn't have my wallet, so I ran back to my house. Cutting through the garage, I smelled something that brought to mind quick flash images of soldering irons, tubes of Neosporin, and my dad grumbling profanely behind a smoldering television set. Stopping to investigate, I looked at the battery charger, which now had dark electrical smoke wafting from it. Indeed, as I watched, a solitary flame waved at me daintily from between the cooling louvres at the back of the damn thing.
I did what I feel any similar man of action would do, which was unplug it from the wall, disconnect it from the battery, and kick it out into the driveway, where it would sit and steam in the rain while I attended to the important business of taking The Lady to work and buying a brand new battery charger.
This is, of course, the standard style of events in my life. All of my experiences unfold with sudden, unexpected and unwelcome minor electrical fires.
No, that's untrue. Although I have been involved in a potentially statistically unlikely number of minor electrical fires. More to the point, though, regardless of what I'm doing, some key part of the process fails miserably and often spectacularly. This past week alone, I've gone through eight pens at work, because I can't get one to last more than three paragraphs without drying out. Do they dry out at a time when it's convenient to replace them? No, of course not. Always, each and every time, they dry out mid-sentence one third of the way through a closed-door meeting. And there I am, scribbling futile little inkless circles in the margins of my notebook, shaking the pen up and down and side to side frantically for the next forty minutes trying to convince the damn thing to just bloody work. Yesterday, I brought three pens with me into a meeting. You'd think one of the damn things would make it all the way through. You'd also be wrong.
I solved this dilemma, though. With pure and beautiful simplicity. Pencils! They friggin' work. Have for centuries. Felt like a total dunce, too, considering it's taken me decades to remember that such a thing even exists.
So in a longwinded way, I give to you my goal for 2012: simplify. Don't automatically assume solutions can only come in the form of something new and different. Try the old fashioned, tested and measured methods. They just might work.
Also, check out this blog. It sums up pretty much everything I try to say in my long winded way concisely:
30 Things To Stop Doing To Yourself