Friday, September 21, 2012

No. 2

The right tool for the job.  It's kind of totally a hang-up of mine. 

I have been known to halt the progress of a recipe and go on a kitchen wide search for a specific red spatula that often results in finding it dirty, in the dishwasher wherein I take the time to wash it before I use it instead of just grabbing the inferior blue spatula that was clean in the drawer.  The red one works better.  I'll leave that blue one for some other sucker, or scraper as the case may be. 

Ditto for pencils.  We have a jar of sharpened pencils on our counter that are easy to reach at homework time.  An eclectic collection of free ones from Halloweens past, small town parades and birthday party goody bags.  My daughters love them.  They remember with bizarre accuracy where each one came from and I'm happy for them.  These pencils all suck.  For me, the Dixon Ticonderoga No. 2 is the only pencil.  Period.  The right tool for the job; any writing job that might require revision or lengthy contemplation.  I keep a secret stash of them in my desk drawer in the basement.  I will, occasionally on rare occasion grab one of those inferior implements from the jar.  They do, in fact, make a mark on a grocery list or a smiley face on a sheet of math facts.  But when I do reach for the wrong tool, the whole time I'm using it, I am preoccupied by the fact that I know there is a better tool for the job.

It's kind of sick.

I come by it naturally.  My father would rather put off doing a job than to attempt to complete it with the wrong tool.  I inherited this trait handicap from him.  Thanks Dad.  Sorry Dad. 

Not doing a project because you don't have the right tool?  That's silly you say.  For me, it actually gets worse.

I stop cooking to search for spatulas.  I run extra flights of stairs to select pencils.  And I selectively remove myself from participating in all sorts of fun stuff because I am paralyzed by my fear that I won't have what it takes to participate.  That I won't have the right tools for the job.

Damn that was hard to write.

I opt out of sports with a lie about preferring to be on the sidelines because I am afraid I won't have a good enough throw, or a spot on swing or a nice hard hit or be able to catch that thing you threw at me.  Those are the tools of sport.  Right? 

I can't?  Or I won't?  I think I won't is closer to the truth.

How did I get here from a word about pencils?  It all comes back to having the right tool for the job.  Or not, as the case may be.  This essay feels more personal than most of the ones you'll find here on this little blog, but oh well.  There's big stuff coming for this little me.  And my anxiety level is off the charts.  I'm planning to tell you all about it...once it's over.  I have assembled many of the tools that are right for the job that's to be done; running shoes, road bike, helmet, gloves, water bottle.  There are other tools that will be required; motivation, endurance, courage.  Have I got the right tools for the job?

I am not sure.

I am sure of these two things:

There is value in knowing the right tool for the job.

There is also value in going ahead and attempting the job anyway. 

*Yes.  We are aware that technically "No. 2" is not a single word.  We decided to make a teeny exception because it was a reader submission AND because certainly No. 2 describes a single thought when referring to the lead of a pencil. Have you got a word you'd like to see us tackle?  Send it our way in a comment or post it to our Facebook page.

1 comment:

  1. wow
    this hit close to home for me, too
    it helps me see my daughter and why she is sometimes paralyzed
    thank you

    as someone who is not really like that - this was a beautifully well written insight into better understanding my beloved child

    thank you thank you thank you