Tuesday, May 15, 2018

PAPA B: The “Jack” Story

By Papa B

My brother and I were fortunate to be raised by wonderful parents and a large loving family. My father died when I was 25 and while I learned many lessons from him, perhaps my greatest regret is how much more I could have learned as well as being able to pass them on to my children. One of the early stories he would tell us repeatedly until it became such a legend -- in fact, all he had to do was say the phrase, "The Jack Story" -- all became clear to us. Here is:

The “Jack” Story

A man was driving down a lonely road late at night and all of a sudden heard the “thump, thump, thump,” of a flat tire. He pulled over preparing to change the tire and found that he had no jack in the trunk. Upset and perplexed, he thought and thought and recalled that he had passed a farm house a few miles back and decided he would walk there and borrow a jack.

He began his journey and talking to himself he thought…” what if the farmer doesn’t have a jack?” Walking a little farther, he thought…..”what if the farmer has a jack but won’t let me borrow it?” Continuing to walk, he thought…..”what if the farmer has a jack but demands that I pay him $50.00 to borrow it?” Marching on brusquely, he thought…….”what if the farmer has a jack and demands $100 and my watch just to loan it to me? Continuing on angrily, he arrives at the farm house, marches furiously up to the door and pounds on the door! A farmer comes to the door, opens it and says…..”may I help you?” And….the man responded….”You lousy $%&##@^%%#............you can keep your $*#@%$%# jack!”

While not a humorous story, it took me years to understand the wisdom of the message.

It really means that the secret of life or more importantly a happy life is to “manage our expectations”. We witness it every day. Someone is waiting for an elevator believing that the elevator should arrive immediately (even though they know that there are some 400 people in the building and there are three elevators). So, when the elevator doesn’t arrive immediately, they are outraged and make everyone around them angry and uncomfortable.

You are at dinner with your tablemates and order from the server. When dinner arrives, it is too rare, too well done, too cold or whatever and you make your feelings angrily known to the server (and you embarrass everyone at your table, including visitors and future residents) and your unpleasantness is a reflection of someone who feels entitled to a perfect dinner every time. And how would you feel if you were the server?

Oh, you may say, “I pay a lot of money and I expect perfection”! Really. In whatever you did in your career, were you perfect? The reality is that the older we get, we become less flexible and less patient and less tolerant... because we do not take the time to “manage our expectations.”

If you expect everything to be perfect, you will always be disappointed! But, on the other hand, if when you approach the elevator, you say to yourself….”if I am downstairs in 15 minutes, I will be a happy camper”. Or at the dinner table: ”I am lucky to be alive and living in a nice place with a lot of nice people.” Few people in this world are as fortunate. I am going to enjoy the meal and I will try to “manage my expectations.”

Thanks to BadBlue News.


Anonymous said...

Amen. You can never go wrong with an attitude of gratitude. Btw, thank you for your great website.

Anonymous said...

I second that.

Anonymous said...

One thing I would disagree with is that as we get older we become more impatient. I have found that it is just the opposite. Maybe I am the weird one out, but when I was younger (several decades younger) I was impatient and had a short fuse for people or things that did not live up to expectations.

The years have taught me that I am the most imperfect of anyone I know and therefore if I deserve a break, then that much more for those around me.

I must say I am less patient with one group tho - those who knowingly do wrong or those who hurt people. These are the critters that I have become increasingly impatient with and will NOT tolerate being near.

My laws to live by:
1. "Be kind to the life you have been blessed with"

2. "Your actions speak so loud I can't hear a word you are saying"


MMinWA said...

I've learned having expectations is generally a negative beginning. Maybe I've reached my late 60s in a somewhat jaded state but it works for me. Being pleasantly surprised is nice. Being let down sux.

Anonymous said...

As I have aged, I have less patience for liars and those that waste my time. My son once asked me why the fathers if his dates looked at him nastily because of his odd hair cut. I simply explained: you are stealing time from them, the time it takes them to try to understand just what that ridiculous hairdo is all about. Time is, likely, the most precious commodity I have and I resent people who rob me.