Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Real Life Tao - Go With the Flow...Even When the Flow Don't Go

Trey Smith

Last night my wife and I did something we don't do very often: we had dinner in a sit-down eatery. Slaters -- decorated as a 1950s burger joint -- is one of our local favorites. Since money tends to be tight, we don't go to Slaters very often and, when we do, it is usually for takeout since I generally don't eat in public (too many people and my swallowing difficulties).

After we ordered our meals -- salads! -- the waitress brought out glasses of water and straws. Della plunged her straw into her glass of lemon water and started using it right away. I attempted to do the same...but I quickly noticed there was a distinct problem. Try as I might, I couldn't seem to draw up any water from the straw into my mouth. I pulled the straw from my glass and noticed that it was missing a characteristic element.

For a straw to work as intended, both ends need to be open. My straw had a closed end! Consequently, it was impossible to draw the water out of my glass,

I could have flagged down our waitress to complain and ask for a new straw. But, you know, a straw isn't really necessary. I could just easily drink directly from the glass! That's what I decided to do.

Since the restaurant had more people in it than I prefer, to say that I was a bit uncomfortable in that setting is an understatement. I was quite fidgety and, at one point early on, I wasn't sure I could take it. What helped me through the situation was the non-functional straw.

Each time I forced it into my glass of water, it almost popped out of the glass onto the table. Since it wasn't hollow, it was buoyant. With almost childlike fascination, both Della and I became immersed in my efforts to see if I could get the straw to pop out of the glass completely. We noticed that, if I blew air into the straw and then clasped a pinkie over it, it became even more buoyant. After several attempts, I felt like a champion Olympic athlete when -- at long last -- the straw exploded out of the glass of water and ended up several inches away on the table.

I wanted to circle the diner high fiving all the patrons before ascending the podium to accept the cherished golden straw! I would tell the assembled reporters of my years of training and sacrifice in perfecting my craft. And I would beam because, here on the world stage, I was first person to accomplish this momentous feat.

Yes, I could have tossed aside that non-functional straw, but function, my friends, is in the eye of the beholder!

This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.

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