A Lightbulb Moment

June 2, 2009

What do you get when you cross a guy who is absent-minded with a guy who is resourceful? No it’s not a dirty joke. OK, I’ll tell you what you get. You get a guy who keeps forgetting to buy light bulbs for his shop and has three good bulbs that he shuffles around to the various lamps. It’s the kind of thing you get used to doing and later can’t fathom how you did it. I guess I’m just very absorbed in my work. I’ll grab a bulb from somewhere and never really stop thinking about the work I’m doing. Hot potato, hot potato, hot potato. Back to work.

It’s kind of like forgetting you need to buy toothpaste until you go to brush your teeth. Each night you are transformed into some kind of serial toothpaste strangler wringing the last dregs of life from that already cashed tube of minty goo.

My wife says, “I’m making a list. Can you think of anything we need from the store?”

I look up from my sketch pad. “Yeah. We’re almost out of ice cream.”

For me to remember light bulbs instead of ice cream is like trying to overcome a million years of evolution. It just isn’t gonna happen. I think it’s a hard wired sort of thing deep within the brain. An ice cream pathway if you will, or maybe two divergent paths, one vanilla and one chocolate. Or maybe they twist?

It always amazes me that a plump fresh tube of toothpaste magically appears on my shelf in the medicine cabinet despite the fact that I never remember it. The million years of evolution that produced my wife apparently differ from the millions years that produced me. She comes from cave people who had tidy caves and orderly flints.

So maybe that is the solution. Maybe I should get my wife interested in woodworking and saw making. Have her down to the shop. Take a look around. Feign surprise that half the lamps don’t have bulbs. But you know, her giving up her sewing machine in exchange for my dirty shop is about as likely as me giving up my dirty shop in exchange for her sewing machine.

So it looks like it’s all on me. But that’s ok, because I think today might be the day that I turn over a new leaf. Yep, I can feel it. I get that warm fuzzy feeling that every caterpillar must get just before it becomes a butterfly. In fact, I’m going to sign off right now and head directly to the store. We’re almost out of ice cream.

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