Thursday, June 2, 2011

Electric Fences

By Julie Rahm

My husband, John can be very direct. His time in the Marine Corps certainly didn’t help. He reminds me, “The Marine Corps is not the Girl Scouts”. My husband is comfortable saying just about anything to anybody. The truth is his directness is always dead right. It is descriptive and exact. And, it usually sums up whatever situation we’re talking about.

As a small example, we were discussing some repeat criminals whose names keep showing up on the courthouse docket. My husband’s comment was simply two words: “electric fences”. Now John was raised next to a farm with electric fences. The fences kept the Angus cattle in the pasture. At age seven, John would routinely step through the electric fence and short cut his way to the bus stop. He taught his younger brother Jimmy the proper “step through the fence” technique when Jimmy was barely old enough to walk. So, I didn’t know where John’s comment was leading. I was afraid to ask. But, I couldn’t help myself. “Okay, I give up. What do you mean electric fences?” John explained, “Some guys have to pee on the electric fence before they learn.” There it was; a life lesson in a nut shell. The offenders at the courthouse hadn’t yet peed on the electric fence so they haven’t learned it is electric. Some people must learn the hard way. It is not enough for some to be told the fence is electric. They must pee on it to believe. It was a simple explanation for repeat offenders at the court house, “electric fences”.

John has a touch of the electric fence syndrome. When we eat at our favorite Mexican restaurant, the server always warns John, “The plate is really hot.” Without fail, John will touch the plate, get burned and exclaim, “Wow the plate is really hot!’.

As another example, John’s brother bought us an electrified tennis racket for zapping bugs. The warning label clearly states, “Do not touch the mesh when electrified”. Of course, both brothers had to touch the electrified racket! It packed “quite the wallop”. John’s arm was numb for half an hour.

It turns out that electric fence syndrome is contagious. If you see me gasping over my sushi at M&M’s Restaurant, don’t worry. I simply added too much wasabi to the soy sauce after John warned me that it was “volcano hot”!

So friends, don’t learn the hard way when confronted with one of life’s electric fences. Make a good decision. Don’t pee on electric fences. My metaphorical tools can help. Use the level to stay in balance and make good choices. The flashlight can reveal why you don’t believe the fence is electric. The pliers can remove the unwise thinking. Then, hammer in better decisions and use the measuring tape to record your success.

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