My stomach woke me up this morning at 5:30am, growling louder than a rabid dog.
I, being the good husband that I am, slipped quietly out of bed, as not to disturb my queen. I worked my way to the kitchen, flicked on some lights, and then ran through my meal options. We were out of coconut milk, so cereal wasn’t an option. I began rummaging (still quietly) through the shelves in the fridge that I could reach.
I found it.
It wouldn’t have been my first choice: leftover swordfish and cauliflower in a to-go box. Only problem, it was a bit out of reach. I got creative, pulling out my bamboo back-scratchers and devising a plan for Operation Flawless Extraction.
I slipped the handle of one back-scratchers under the fold of the cardboard container. If I allowed the weight of the box to slide slowly toward me, that tasty protein and veggies were all mine.
Things were looking up, until…
I began to celebrate, albeit in my mind, for just one quarter of a second. That damn ego of mine jerked the wheel of my attention away from my objective. In the blink of an eye my perfect plan LITERALLY came crashing down. Miraculously, the box landed face up with all the contents staying perfectly inside. I was both pissed and relieved.
I had a second chance at my meal, the only problem was…
The lid of the box flipped open and my only grabbing surface was now gone. Grr.
So picture this, you’re starting to get angry, you’re absolutely famished, somewhat shaky (low blood sugar), and you’re perched at the edge of a chair naked with bamboo back-scratchers as your only tools. Maybe comical to a fly on the way, but certainly not you.
I then went to the living room to track down my “reacher,” a plastic toy that extends, well, my reach. I found it and went back to work in the kitchen. I was careful not to let my focus deviate one millisecond this time. I then squeezed one of the cardboard flaps gently with the tips of my reacher; hoisting it ever so slowly toward me. Right before I got it up to my hands the flap slipped between the reacher’s tips. As if in slow-motion, I watched, yet again, my meal go plummeting to the ground. This time scattering all over the floor.
Right then I lost it.
I no longer cared that it was 5:30am, that my wife was sleeping, or that my tasty meal was now making friends with the germs on the floor. I screamed words that would have made George Carlin uncomfortable. I didn’t care; I was furious. In that moment I hated everything: being in a wheelchair, having short arms, being so damn hungry. I’m not sure what it is about men, but when inanimate objects upset us, we must punish them with physical violence. I threw down my back-scratchers and reacher and stormed out of the kitchen, defeated and ever so hungry.
There was no way Mindie was still sleeping. My entire block must have woken from their slumber. Did I mention I didn’t care? As I crawled back into bed, Mindie asked, “Having trouble out there?” She got out of bed, cleaned up my mess (not before snapping a photo), and made me a meal. The moral of this story: marry someone patient with a good sense of humor.
Seriously, though, here’s my learning lesson:
Don’t celebrate until you’ve truly achieved your objective; it will mess you up.” <- CLICK TO TWEET
Had I stayed focused for just a quarter second longer, I would have quietly mastered my goal. I’m curious, when in your life did you screw something up because you celebrated too soon? Leave me a comment below.