Sometimes little things matter. Sometimes they don’t.
I was working around the yard last week and my beat up leather gloves had a small hole in tip of the left index finger. That didn’t really matter to me - I know people wear gloves to make picking up something disgusting less so, but after three decades as a hog farmer, my threshold for disgusting is pretty darn high. A little, well, almost anything, on the tip of my finger doesn’t really bother me.
On the other hand, just a bit later I went in to do some welding. In the process, I grabbed onto a piece of newly welded steel to reposition it and discovered that in this case, the hole in the leather glove mattered a great deal.
There were no screams (I’m not really a screamer), but there was certainly more cussing than would be otherwise appropriate, particularly in the Easter season. What made it worse is that it was my own fault. I’ve been welding for four decades or so and I know better than to pick up hot steel. That’s why pliers were invented. So, two dumb decisions in a row (hole in glove, grabbing hot steel) means I have absolutely no right to complain about the blisters.
That’s not a hard and fast rule, by the way. I believe two dumb decisions in a row that lead to catastrophe usually deserve a limited amount of sympathy. That said, I know folks who feel a lifetime of bad decisions deserve unending sympathetic comments.
Anyway, I digress. I started out writing about my theory that becoming an adult means being able to sort out what matters and what doesn’t. I’ll give you a couple of examples. The NFL draft is coming up this week. Now, I love football and I’m interested in the draft, but when I see someone making a guess as to which player the Vikings were going to draft first and then see 1,548 comments critiquing that guess, I think an awful lot of people have way too much time on their hands.
Here’s the thing. We don’t know, can’t know, the answer and guessing ahead of time doesn’t matter – we’ll find out in a week and even after that, it’s months and months before football season starts. So, I say, “What’s the freakin’ point?” Just think of something else for a few days and all will be revealed.
And in the “all will be revealed” vein comes my second example. I get tired of theology. I have a group of friends who are pastors - at least they were before I wrote this column - and when they start discussing some nuance of theology it makes me yawn, and here’s why. We’ve been working on “love thy neighbor as yourself” for over two thousand years now and we still haven’t gotten it right. Until we do, nothing else about religion matters all that much.
So people, here’s my suggestion. Make sure your work gloves don’t have holes in the fingers and try to lighten up about everything else. Most of it isn’t very important.
Copyright 2011 Brent Olson