Renovation season, that’s how. Fixing up the store, moving fixtures. I work in a downtown location, so we have theft issues. As such, we secure just about everything. Recoilers, alarms, chain locks – you name it, we use it, all trying to make sure nothing walks out of the store unaccounted for. One of these many wonderful tools – and the specific one which owns my wrath at the moment – is best described as a spring patch. Basically, a coil of steel wire secured to a shelf, which secures, on its other end, to whatever it is we need kept in place with a two-inch by one-inch pad of 3m double-sided sticky material. It’s better than tape. It’s better than glue. There’s no residue, no marks. Once secured, if left to dry, this eight-inch thick pad becomes nearly impossible to remove, it’s like cement.
Normally, we use a special tool for this. Wonderful piece of wire to shear between the 3m goo and whatever it’s attached to. I couldn’t find it so, in my stupidity, I used a flat-head screwdriver to lever under the pad and try to get it off. Naturally, because it was the one time I’ve done this in this way, off comes the pad, zip goes the screwdriver, and I’ve got a three millimetre wide hole and a six millimetre deep puncture in my left hand, where my thumb meets my hand. You know the place – right in the middle of the joint.
Yes. It stung. Yes. My hand is totally useless for now. Why do I say this taught me a few lessons?
I’m not ambidextrous. Far from; I’m a bit of a klutz. As much as I have an obsession with hand-eye coordination, I can barely do anything with my left hand. But as I’ve struggled through the day, after this tiny injury, I’m amazed at how difficult it is to get through things, missing a piece of routine that I had, until now, considered inconsequential. Apparently, I use my left hand a lot – turning on lights, carrying things, grasping. Because there’s such a difference in ability, I think of my right hand as the only usable one.
The point? I’m thinking a lot now about those skills, resources and networks we take for granted. What would happen to your routine if someone took away Facebook? Or Twitter? Or LinkedIn? You’d notice – it’s like your right hand getting taped up. But if someone took away Disq.us for a week? Or bit.ly? What would you do then? You’d find a way around it, for sure, but how much would you actually notice?
We derive so much value from the scaffolding that our “lesser used” utilities provide. Much of what we consider our major skills are backed up by ancillary, far less glorious skills. It becomes mental furniture; without it, we’re sitting on the floor, twiddling our thumbs in discomfort, but how much credence do we give these foundations when they’re not standing up and getting noticed?
Perhaps it’s time to inventory our tools. Take ownership of our internal networks. Who knows? You may find a latent talent lurking under your usual exterior, the way Superman’s uniform always hides under his suit.
I, for one, welcome the insight. Even if I’ll never wear red and blue tights.
Photo by JesusPresley