The other day I assembled a prefab metal goat shed in our lower pasture. The instructions were idiot-proof and mostly specified a lot of drilling. Accordingly, I arrived at the job site with a cordless drill and two fully charged batteries.
The first battery gave out before the drilling was half over. Reasoning that I might need the battery again, I trudged back to my distant tool shed to charge the battery. When I got there, I realized that I had left the part that connects the battery to the charger back in my toolbox in the pasture. After a long spate of invective, I resigned myself to walking back to the pasture to retrieve the connector.
My wife refers to this excessive walking as “thinking with your feet.” Thinking with my feet is a curse that has dogged me throughout my life, particularly on construction and repair projects. I am forever forgetting tools and parts or failing to anticipate what might go wrong.
As I trudged back to the pasture, I began thinking of possible solutions to my affliction. One would be to purchase a four-wheel drive truck and load it up with all my tools and parts. But trucks are expensive, and parts of our property are inaccessible to four-wheel drives.
Another solution would be to buy a couple of pack mules and load them up with tools. But mules eat a lot of hay and are ornery as hell.
A third possibility would be to think with my head rather than my feet. My wife says I need to develop this skill in any case, so why not exercise a few brain cells by determining all the tools I might need and figuring out what might go wrong? I actually tried this once. The night before a construction project was to begin, I lay awake for hours contemplating what I would need and what might go wrong.
The next day, however, I experienced a string of mishaps so unbelievable that not even a decade of cogitation could have anticipated them. That was it for thinking with my head. It causes insomnia, and it makes my temples throb.
When I returned to the tool shed with connector in hand, I suddenly realized that there was a fourth possible solution. Why not just accept things the way they are and not worry about it? Like a mountaintop guru, I should just live in the here and now. What is is, what will be will be — and there’s not a darn thing you can do about it. Besides, thinking with your feet gives you an unexpected exercise opportunity.
Enraptured by my discovery, I practically ran back to the pasture determined to finish the goat shed in record time.
Ten minutes later, I was back in the tool shed seeking yet another forgotten part. My feet felt great.
Steve Osborn is a writer and editor who lives in the country south of Santa Rosa.