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It’s your anniversary.
You have a reliable babysitter for your three-year old.
But before you and your significant other head out on the town for the evening you decide on some pizza, so you strap the little rug rat into the car seat and make a beeline for Little Caesar’s while your spouse waits for the babysitter to arrive.
The gal says it’s gonna be about 30 minutes till your order’s ready.
“30 minutes,” you shrug!
“I’ve got a fitful three year old here, any chance ya might have some Crayons or something handy?”
She futilely searches behind the counter then points over your shoulder toward the opposite corner of the room to a lone and rather dysfunctional looking video game.
Grateful nonetheless you hoist your toddler up on his knees atop the unoccupied stool and deposit one of the two quarters you handed him into the coin slot.
At this point you’re thinkin cool, that should keep the kid entertained for a while.
When at the shake of a joystick he’s down on the linoleum ballin and bleedin.
SHOULD’VE GONE TO MICKEY D’S
Now this reenactment may not be exactly how you remember it but if you’re a parent I’m sure you’ve been in a similar situation.
Ya see although I’d been leaning on the video machine with both arms in a position to keep him from inching too far to the right or left when our daredevil son bravely attempted to stand up on the stool it inadvertently caused it to kick out from under him.
And to make matters worse on his way down he face plants the leading edge of the console.
At first it appeared he’d knocked a tooth out but come to find out it wound up being much more serious.
In any case Tim was clearly in a great deal of pain.
Did I mention its our anniversary?
As it happens this wasn’t the first time I found myself not readily knowing what to do, nor would it prove to be the last.
Fortunately, when it comes to your everyday hopes and dreams this needn’t be the case.
Because whether or not you know it, you know precisely what to do.
We all know what to do.
“When you walk into a darkened room,” writes Jeff Olson in The Slight Edge, “why does your hand reach out for the light switch?”
“Because you know that when you hit the switch the light will go on.”
“You don’t have to give yourself positive self-talk about how you really ought to hit that light switch, or set up a system of rewards and punishments for yourself around whether you follow through or not with hitting the light switch.”
“You don’t need any rigmarole; you just hit the switch.”
“Why? Because you know what will happen.”
LIGHTS COMMITMENT ACTION
So, do you hit the switch?
Do you make the switch from dreamer to doer?
Or do you just carry on dreaming knowing full well that by doing so those everyday hopes and dreams of yours may never come true.
That night I had no choice.
Despite the fact that Tim was biting down on a towel to help slow the bleeding it didn’t ease the pain. I had to do something.
And I had to do it quickly.
It was after hours on a Friday night.
My immediate thought was to take him to the hospital emergency room some 15/20 miles away, but then one of the gals working there at Little Caesar’s suggest I check The Yellow Pages.
Frazzled as I was I flipped open the burly binder she gave me to the D’s and began dialing every damn dentist on the page.
Miraculously after an uninterrupted string of recordings I connected with a live body.
“Bring him in,” he said.
THERE IS A PIZZA GOD
Five minutes later with Tim wrapped in my arms we entered the office.
Immediately upon examination the doctor confirmed that Tim’s tooth had in fact lodged itself high up into his gum line and that our only option was for it to be surgically removed.
He quietly put the bug in my ear that the procedure would be painful and that even with local anesthesia Tim could feel quite a bit of discomfort.
As a Father I tried to remain strong but looking at little Timbo lying in that monstrous dentist’s chair I could feel the tears begin to well up.
The doctor suggested I comfort Tim anyway I could and that it might be a good idea to have him squeeze my finger prior to getting underway.
It was only then that I noticed each of Tim’s hands clinched tightly in a fist.
And it was as I gently peeled back the fingers of his right hand that I saw something I’ll never forget as long as I live.
There in the palm of that hand was the other quarter I’d given him when we first arrived at Caesar’s Pizza He’d been holding on to it this entire time.
That was a lot of years ago, and while the memory of that night isn’t necessarily one I fondly look back on the image of Tim clutching onto that quarter is one that’ll be forever etched in my mind.
It also serves a regular reminder of just how important it is to have something to hold on to.
Like those everyday hopes and dreams of yours.
Which by the way I recommend you hold on to with every bit of vise-like grip you can muster.
But once again, unless you give em the attention they deserve, until you let go of that false notion that they’re gonna somehow come true on their own, well then you might as well be holdin on to a gunny sack full of wooden nickels.
“Do the thing and you shall have the power,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson.
You know what to do.
You know you can do it.
And the more you do…well, the more power to ya.
See ya on April 1st, till then, keeep it up.