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Oil in the eye

Agriculture.com Staff 05/27/2008 @ 9:58am

I was reattaching a fuel line on a tractor, lying on my back on a piece of plywood, and working over my head in a narrow space between the fuel tank and the transmission housing. I had a flashlight in my mouth, but in order to see what I was doing, I had squirmed into a spot directly under what I was working on.

As a result, every time my wrench slipped, I got oil in my eye -- or sometimes dirt. Blood was trickling down my arm from a random contact with something sharp and I had a pool of diesel fuel collecting under my back. It felt like about $10 worth (about a quart...), which is why I really wanted to get the fuel line fixed. I was using a certain amount of...imprudent language, but luckily, because of the flashlight in my mouth, no one could understand what I was saying.

I remember thinking at the time that it was the sort of situation that really should be a growth experience. I kept waiting for some kind of revelation so I could slide out from under that tractor a better man -- a better man with a non-leaking fuel line. I tried to think of something that I was learning from the experience and all I could come up with was that I disliked getting greasy dirt in my eyes -- and I was pretty sure I knew that before.

That's the trouble with life. It keeps teaching me things I already know. What's up with that, anyway?

I mean, going through one root canal quickly taught me the importance of proper flossing and brushing. When I was 17, it only took one memorable experience of flying through the air and looking down at the headlight of my motorcycle from above and in front of it to make me a relatively prudent driver. And I made that decision before I even landed.

I admit that there are a few other lessons that have taken a while longer to sink in. Despite evidence to the contrary, I still sorta believe in the political system, and when a contractor tells me he'll be here in three days, I do have a faint hope that he'll show up in three days. I also choose to believe that blithe optimism isn't a character flaw.

You see, that's my theory. The universe is teaching me all these lessons in hopes of turning me into a better person. But I think there's no need for that. I have a plan.

I haven't run this past my spiritual advisors to fine tune the theology, but what I hope to do when my time comes is this: When I’m being processed through the Pearly Gates, I'll just slip into line behind someone like Donald Trump, a Third World dictator, or a guy who kicks puppies. By the time they finish the paperwork on those guys, I’ll be able to slide through right before closing time. And once in, I'm home free.

So, quit dropping dirt in my eyes. There's just no need any more.

Copyright 2008 Brent Olson

I was reattaching a fuel line on a tractor, lying on my back on a piece of plywood, and working over my head in a narrow space between the fuel tank and the transmission housing. I had a flashlight in my mouth, but in order to see what I was doing, I had squirmed into a spot directly under what I was working on.

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