This is a picture of my Grandfather’s garage in Montana…way back when.
My father used to like to tell the same simple stories…over and over.
It wasn’t like he was on an endless loop…constantly repeating himself daily.
It’s just that he had a repertoire that he could pull out if the situation called for it.
One of the episodes he mentioned was appreciating a mechanic at the local Chevron station that he knew when we lived in New Jersey for a couple of years.
The mechanic’s motto was, “let’s start with the simple stuff…it’s usually something simple.”
If you get to hear a story a couple of times for a lesson to sink in…it was time listening well spent.
Yesterday it was time to change the oil in the old Toyota truck my daughter is driving now.
I drove it for a while to warm it up, got it up on the ramps, crawled underneath to remove the drain plug…and all this antifreeze was dripping on my head….and the level in the just filled overflow tank was “unfilled” .
This simple oil change was about to get a lot more complicated.
So…I got my light and started checking around the water pump. It had to be the water pump. Where else do you lose coolant unless it’s a head gasket or something? Maybe a freeze plug is rusted out? Did she do something to it and crack the block? Maybe it’s the head gasket? That would be bad…that would be really bad.
So I was ready to drain it all…pull and inspect the radiator…pull and replace the water pump…I’ve got to get this thing ready for school on Monday…but if I work tonight I should get it done…I can get it done. OK…it’s going to be alright…I can do it.
And then…I heard my father’s voice saying, “I knew a mechanic in New Jersey at the Chevron station…you know what he used to say? He used to tell me that ‘he’d start with the simple stuff…it’s usually something simple’. That’s what he used to say, at least.”
Well, I took a breath and started looking around again. It really wasn’t all that wet around the water pump…nothing leaking around the bottom of the radiator…what’s this coolant around the top of the shroud? Where is that coolant coming from? It looks like it’s leaking down from the ….upper radiator hose!
I had a bad seal at the upper hose and it was seeping out every time the car was driven.
That was simple. That was easy.
It got me thinking about all the people who look for the easy solution first.
They’re the ones who are really good at their trade or life who approach problems with simplicity and clarity.
Because they look for the simple solution first they sometimes make the things they do look easy. Life is not a hardship for these people.
I wonder how many of them some people discount as just being lucky…”they never came up against anything difficult, never had to deal with anything hard in their work or in their life….let’s see how they handle things when it all really hits the fan”.
I think that what’s going on is they know that it makes things roll better if they just use the restroom…and avoid the fans.
Their lives aren’t complicated (by choice)…but they sure are elegant.
Some people make their lives more exciting by always backing up to every fan they see…maybe just so they can say, “See!! See!! I get dealt the nasty hand every single time…I just can’t win! Born to lose, that’s me for sure.”
I don’t always make good choices. I tend to get excited and run around willy nilly…sure that the sky must be falling soon…but I sure do appreciate seeing the calm elegance of a well lived life.
It’s something good to shoot for.