Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Inflatable pool

When I was a kid I always liked the idea of building models. I say I liked the idea of building models because, in truth, I lacked tenacity and patience as a child and never did successfully complete a single tank or airplane or anything. I never allowed adequate time for the glue to dry. That was my problem.

I remember working on a model F4U Corsair when I was in about the third grade. That’s a great little fighter plane, the Corsair. It was my favorite. I desperately wanted to get the pieces together, so I could fly it around the living room. I couldn’t finish fast enough. I jammed the landing gear in and slathered them with glue before the wings had set. I left the plane to dry. When I returned the wings had dried all cockeyed and crooked. I tried to pry them loose to reset them, but I broke one of them off in the process. At this point, my little head exploded and I smashed the thing to bits. That was the end of the Corsair and my relationship with model airplanes in general.

This sad little story about the Corsair that never was is one of those sticky stories. It’s sticky because it’s a variation on a theme that has played out many times in my life. A hasty race to perfection leads to inevitable imperfection which, in turn, results in explosive anger. Usually the anger is directed at myself, or at inanimate objects. Karine has seen it many times. That little vein looks like its going to pop out of your forehead again, dear, she says. I am writing about this today because of two things that happened yesterday.

I arrived home from work to find that Ruby, our German shepherd, had spent at least a portion of the day yesterday swimming in our brand new plastic inflatable pool. We splurged on this luxury item last Sunday. We loved this pool. We felt like it was the best money we ever spent. Ruby killed the pool. In her frolicking she punctured one of the sidewalls. The half-deflated pool now sits in the mud, utterly useless, a picture of sadness.

I wanted to punch the dog in the face and throw her down a dark hole. But I couldn’t. Instead, I was mad at the dishes and the curtains and the patches of dirt in the backyard. I was stomping around the yard scowling at a pile of rocks when Karine called me into the house.

Ezekiel was lying on his back on the couch. He was smiling. In his six short weeks on earth, he had learned from us that smiling is something that humans do to communicate. And it hit me like a ball peen in the forehead. Whatever this little fella learns about anger he is going to learn from me. So maybe I need to examine what is going on with this sticky story of mine before it becomes a sticky story of his.


Anonymous said...

What a difference six weeks can make! I believe that children are great teachers. They don't have to say anything. I believe that Zeke is going to move you to be the best person you can be.

Tom, do you remember the time I made you write 100 sentences about using some very colorful word choices? Love, Mom

Live Simply Love Strongly said...

Thinking that my daughter will be learning from me makes me want to be a better person.

Oh, and I am curious to see the pool...pic?