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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Chowder - Mine Mortal Enemy

I recently found myself on the losing end of a battle of balance involving me, gravity, and a bowl of clam chowder (New England style, of course). I may have lost that battle, but I did win the war. Or at least learned some things along the way...

Here's what happened:

I was in a situation where I had a plate of food and a bowl of New England Clam Chowder. I needed to take both of these items down a flight of stairs and through a closed door. I know, this sounds like an episode of "Double Dare." But it was real... So I navigate the stairs ok, but when I get to the door I realize that I have both hands full, and I need one of them to open the door (that's how hands and doors generally work).

Being the Mensa student that I am, I think it's a smart idea to balance the bowl of chowder on my other hand while using my now free right hand to open the door. This plan would have worked just fine if I could have kept my entire body completely still (like Sam Neil trying to avoid a T-Rex).

Unfortunately, bio-mechanics dictates that when you pull open a heavy door with one hand, the rest of your body shifts. I found myself in my own personal John Woo movie, where everything suddenly changed to slow motion, the bowl started to tip, and I let out a long drawn out "noooooooooooooooooooooo."


Two seconds later, I am standing there with clam chowder on my sweater, jeans, shoes, and carpet. Let me tell you, clam chowder and clothing do not make for a nice odor combination.

All I can say is, thank goodness I have a washing machine at home.

I did learn a couple of things from this experience about dealing with the Dings of life:

1) A little forethought would have saved me. After I picked up my food, I realized that having the soup in my right hand would make it harder for me to open the door. I could have switched hands right there while I had a table handy, but instead I thought, "no, I'll be fine."

Question: How many times do you realize that you have made a mistake that had a quick fix, but rather than fixing it you say, "no, I'll be fine."?

2) As I stood in front of the door, I suspected that this would be a bad idea. I'm not that big of an idiot. Anyone would know that balancing a bowl of chowder is not a good idea. But rather than trying a new strategy, I said, "no, I'll be fine if I am just *really* careful." Guess not...

Question: How many times do you *know* that you are setting yourself up for something bad, but you proceed anyway even saying, "I'll just be extra careful."?

3) Once the Ding was done, I had no choice but to laugh. Yes, I spilled chowder all over my clothes. Yes, my clothes reeked the rest of the day. But once it happened, what else can you do but laugh? I laughed at myself, and let others laugh at me. I know people who would have been angry, stressed, and freaking out. What's the fun in that?

Question: When Ding happens to you, do you laugh, cry, or get angry? There's really only one powerful choice.

Keep these tips in mind when the unexpected hits. Otherwise, you may end up taking a clam chowder bath yourself...

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