Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Cop, the Doc, and the Maestro

What is the lesson that a highway patrolman, a dentist, and a conductor can teach us? There he is, parked around the bend on the interstate with his window wide open and that obnoxious gun thing aimed straight at you. He's our friendly speed monitor. The second guy we see is peering down from behind his sanitary mask with his obnoxious sharp poking instrument aimed straight at your mouth. It's our friendly tooth monitor. Next, there he is, staring back at you from his podium with that obnoxious stick in his hand pointed directly at you. It's our friendly note monitor!

These three can be either friend or foe. The choice is yours. But there is something important to be learned from each of them. For sure we get their message, but usually it's too late and costly. Had we only known and been prepared, our encounter would have been much more pleasant, or no en counter at all. But because of our negligence, we must face a ticket, a cavity, or a musical flogging . . . or a billing, a drilling, and a grilling!

Your speed suddenly matters when it's found unacceptable. Dental hygiene matters when the painful cavities surface and must be dealt with, and the lack of right notes matters once they are publicly exposed. Neither a quick jamming of the brake pedal, nor a flurry of brushing, nor a frantic last minute practice session can make up for our woeful lack of preparation. These monitors teach us not to get too late smart.

But wait! Could it be that these three characters, the cop, the doc, and the maestro, are only ghosts of the past, and not necessarily what must be in the future? No, they need not be specters that dog us in the new year, hounding us for our wealth, our health, and musical success. Yes, we can awake from these very real nightmares to find instead that we have yet another chance to prepare to meet them, and this time with confidence and readiness and joy! MERRY CHRISTMAS, everybody! MERRY CHRISTMAS!