'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
DREAM COMES TRUE Ė BUT DID I NOTICE?
Even though itís been many months now, I can remember the scene vividly. The worst winter in years was raging. Four-foot high snow drifts were everywhere, with ten-foot snow piles blocking sight lines at virtually every intersection. Roof rakes were on back order at the hardware stores. Buildings were collapsing all over the state under the weight of record snowfall.
It was a Sunday afternoon. An extension ladder was leaning against the side of my house, planted into one of those four-foot high snow drifts. I was hanging onto the top of the ladder, leaning to the side, with my outstretched arm holding a plumberís propane torch. I was trying to melt a groove in a massive ice dam in the gutter, so that melting snow could drain off the roof rather than continue to back up under the shingles and do further damage to the ceilings inside the house.
At that moment I was cold and miserable. My fingertips were numb. My red nose was runny, but since both hands were occupied there was nothing I could do about it except shake my head periodically and try to dislodge the danglers. (Yuck, sorry for the gross visual.) It was dark and gloomy, and the world had lost all color. It was as if the universe had become a sterile, lifeless asteroid, with the only sounds being my labored breathing and the soft roar of the propane torch.
While perched on the ladder, feeling depressed and miserable, more snow began to fall. And thatís when I had a searing vision, a mental image that was born out of pain, desperation, and an overwhelming longing, the likes of which I had rarely experienced.
I suddenly envisioned my yard during springtime. The temperature was in the 70s. The sky was bright blue and the grass was emerald green. Yellow, red, and purple flowers were everywhere. Bird flitted about, chirping happily. The yard was teeming with life and light and color and sound and warmth. At that moment, my desire to experience my vision in the flesh was unbelievably powerful. I ached to be whisked away off the frozen metal ladder into the midst of springtime. I muttered to myself, ďOh God, if I could just experience that scene right now, even for just a couple of minutes, I would throw myself joyfully onto the grass face first, and offer up profound thanks and praise. I would be SO grateful to touch just a slice of that vision.Ē
Well, the vision faded, and I continued the frigid drudgery of battling the winter elements.
Fast-forward about four months. It was early May on a Saturday afternoon. My emerald green lawn was growing like weeds (probably because itís three-quarter weeds). The sky was bright blue. Colorful flowers waved in the gentle warm breeze. Birds noisily flitted about. Basically, my vivid winter vision had come to life and was staring me right in the face.
So, how did I react to this scene? Did I throw myself onto the grass, overwhelmed by joy and gratitude? Not quite. Here are the thoughts that dominated my mind at that moment: I hope the stupid lawnmower starts. Oh, look at all the pollen. Itís turning my car yellow. Man, bugs are everywhere! Iíve never seen so many spider webs. I think my neck is getting sunburned. Itís gonna get really hot and humid in a few weeks and that will be miserable.
Whatís the moral of this story? Desire is more powerful than reality? Maybe. When our dreams come true we fail to realize it? I suppose. I am an ungrateful whiner? Most definitely.
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