Don’t just learn the tricks, learn the trade

Sometimes, even the seemingly fool-proof "trick" of dryer fluffing clothing fails, so it's good to have learned the "trade" of ironing as a fallback measure. Just in case.

I’m tired of shortcuts. Everywhere you look, someone seems to be offering another time-saving or step-saving way through life. Add 10 hours to your week through re-aligning your household tasks and using the right cleaning products! Lose 10 pounds in two weeks without modifying diet or exercise! Improve your relationships through these 10 fail-safe tips! Do more even faster!

An immature wish for well-being and chronic busyness are the driving forces behind the too-good-to-be-true craziness hiding itself under the flannel night-gowned, laced-cap guise of modern ease.

Pretty soon the classic story of Little Red Riding Hood will need to be retold, with the scarlet-cloaked youngster streamlining her path through a better-lighted forest, effectively eliminating the time-, relationship- and grandmother-consuming nuisance of the wolf. Who, all told, is probably too busy these days to be bothered, due to adherence to his own efficiency measures, including not having the time to give the time of day to anyone, let alone do lunch with them or make them his lunch, not to mention his likely conversion to vegetarianism as part of some planetary peace progression.

I’ve been feeling somewhat of an anomaly for some time in eschewing lightning cures to all life’s storms and weathering its lesser inconveniences. Conceptually, “instant happiness, just add water,” eludes me. I dismiss it as THE ANSWER along with the escalating, get-rich-quick promise of casino proliferation, often heralded as the coming of Christ by otherwise sane economic developers.

With my pot of homemade soup simmering on the stove as I type, I recognize as time goes on, I have fewer people with whom to have this conversation. Well, unless I want to text them as we drive in separate directions along the Empty Promise Parkway.

Last night at the grocery store, I bypassed frozen vegetables, pre-packaged noodles and artificially preserved meats for raw ingredients. No offense to Campbell’s, but I choose to live life outside of a can. While I still can. Eventually, it may not be an option.

Let’s get back to my typing. I observe my hands are in the standard QWERTY position on the keyboard. Why? Because I took a full year of typing when I was in high school and years of practice have rendered me able to whip out prose passages like a pro. Taking the time to learn to do it right has paid off. Not just metaphorically, but financially. Return on investment.

James Bennis got it right when he advised, “Don’t just learn the tricks of the trade. Learn the trade.” However, attempting to put that maxim into practice frequently looks more like, “Trade? What trade? I didn’t even know there was one!”

If there’s a Life for Dummies book out there, as there’s one for practically every topic, from selling a house to selecting a wine, I hope it specifically addresses the subject of not expecting right results without doing things the right way. What’s that mean? The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

While it’s okay to dryer fluff your clothing every now and again, don’t fully retire your iron. Problem is, many people have never learned how to use it. That old thing?! I think my grandmother used to use it. Yes, and probably while the soup was simmering on the stove and while listening to music on the radio before the iPod shuffle was even a dance in someone’s eye.

Shortcuts don’t always work the way you hope they would. I got extra busy the other morning and sought to accelerate my getting ready time through dryer fluffing a pair of pants, pants which I normally would have previously pressed and carefully hangered, awaiting my occupancy.

I misted the pants with water and threw them in the dryer on moderate heat. Returning 10 minutes later, I discovered they had twisted themselves into a Gordian-looking knot. Not what I had in mind. So I was forced to get out Mr. Iron and press both another pair and a matching shirt.

Fortunately, I knew how to iron because I had learned that trade. BEFORE learning the trick of dryer fluffing. Sometimes it’s best to avoid the tricky, backfiring business of shortcuts. They’re knot worth it.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Sheldon Phillips
    Mar 21, 2012 @ 16:30:36

    please don’t text and drive

    Reply

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