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Essays on Issues, Ideas and Reflections on the Times. Published now and
then. Opinions pro or con are welcome.

When Things Break

North Miami Beach, FL 04-26-2005
A.H. Schectman

There are a number of approaches in handling normal wear and tear and breakages of our belongings.  One is to expect some slippage and disappearance of favorite belongings. Things happen.  Special belongings have a place in our hearts like the blankets and toys we carried everywhere when we were toddlers.  Like the death of a beloved pet, the loss of that special thing makes a hole in the heart of our memories that never mends.  There are others, who quite different from the sentimental types, unsentimentally blast holes through masses of belongings either of their own or anyone else.  They have little respect for themselves just like they do not see, notice or care about possessions.  In between there are whole classifications of individuals and groups who treat the world and its gifts in different and sometimes scary ways.  The owners of Hummers are one type and the drillers for more oil to run them are another much the same.

But all of this is just preliminary to the telling of my breaking a glass bowl this morning as I was trying to empty the dishwasher.  It shouldnít have happened for I have accomplished this feat many times without any mishaps. The bowl was sort of stuck in another and trying to separate them they both came out awkwardly and one flew out of my hands, bounced a couple of times before smashing to pieces on the floor.  Now, in my house where we sometimes go around barefoot and in socks, this is a serious matter.  Those pieces of glass were everywhere and when I tried to pick up the larger ones a voice in the back of my head (sounding like a fusion of my mother and Carol) said stop!  So I got a broom and pan and began to sweep them up.  It took a long time for I soon became tired, sweaty and had not worn my glasses to breakfast.  Recognize the situation? 

When things break we should remember that they can usually be replaced.  It is said that the healing between broken parts is sometimes stronger than the two joined pieces. Broken hearts are not dealt with so easily.  When promises are broken a whole host of values, alliances and relationships are tested. The work involved in cleaning up the mess of broken pieces and collateral damage sometimes is never finished.

I broke a glass bowl of which we have many.  I donít think it will be missed too much.  What is nicked once again is the fear instilled in me when I was coming up as a child.  I was warned what would happen if I didnít look, wasnít careful and didnít mend my heedless way.  Didnít I know that money doesnít grow on trees and who will pay for the damage you just thoughtlessly did?  Believe me, I know and Iím glad Iím an adult and know that things will break.  And we go on.




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