Philosophy of breaking things

There are times in everyone’s lives when they are presented with a philosophical question. Kind of like one of those “if a tree falls in the woods” moments, when the happenings of the day can neither be described as accident, consequence, or coincidence. And the consequences of the happenings have no explanation whatsoever.

Such a moment happened to me recently as I went above and beyond the call of homemaker duties and again broke a major appliance. I have a pretty decent track record when it comes to that sort of thing, like the time I tried to repair the kitchen faucet and ended up stripping the whole thing and listened to constant dripping water before my husband came to the rescue.

And it was not even two years ago that I spent the better part of an afternoon trying to piece the snow blower back together using craft wire and duct tape after I channeled my inner cowgirl and attempted to clear the driveway of feet of snow. I may have bent solid steel with my hand, but somehow rigged the machine to right. And had the clear driveway to prove it.

But as it goes with a change of season in Ohio, the snow blower is quickly replaced by the lawn mower, an appliance which with I share a serious love-hate relationship. While I cherish the loud roaring sound that sufficiently drowns out my children asking for snacks and fighting with each other, I also secretly loathe the machine that never seems to work quite right. The blades never seem sharp enough, the speed control wavers, and most importantly, the grass clippings turn my feet green as I walk behind the beast around my yard.

Last week, in a lush and thick spring lawn, I found a very small window of time in which to mow before a)it started raining AGAIN, b)the sun went down completely, c)the grass grew so high the dogs completely got lost in the front yard, and d) the kids killed each other being semi-free from adult supervision.

Plus I wanted to get it done before my husband got home so I could prove to him what a successful wife I am. This is often the way I break things, trying to be an independent and resourceful woman. I think it’s only a matter of time before my husband starts locking up all tools and equipment when he leaves the house.

But standing there in the half-mowed front yard with an ailing mower and an angry scowl on my face, I began to think like a philosopher.

Did I break the mower? Or did the mower just happen to break while I was using it? Am I the cause of these casualties or just the unfortunate one who is using it when the machine just reaches the breaking point?

To analyze, I philosophize the concept of the tree in the woods. If I weren’t in the woods, I would never even know if the tree was there and therefore if it fell over would never even be a concept to consider. Conversely, if I take the time to go to the woods, there is a chance that I will see a tree and that it will be a lovely tree. There’s also a chance that it could be an old, rotten tree and a stiff wind will blow it down and smack me on the noggin, at which point it might make a serious sound that I wouldn’t hear because I will be knocked out cold.

Therefore I have officially decided that I’m really not the cause of the disasters that plague our household. I am simply a tool in the fate of the appliance, the one who happens to be using the machine when it halts its purpose. For if I didn’t even attempt to do things like mow the lawn or fix a faucet, surely they would eventually blow down in a stiff wind and knock my husband out cold.

As I see it, I’m just taking one for the team while I can, before the other members chain up the entire garage and the grass grows tall enough to fall over and make a sound.


Loren said…
Funny, my husband and I were just arguing about mowing the lawn. I want to help him out and start doing it, and he is strangely protective of his mower. Weird, but true. Great post and hope you are doing well over there in Ohio.

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