So, I may or may not have had a problem when I was a kid with sticking every coin I earned, received, or found into some kind of candy machine. Remember those tiny pressed pucks that were super sour until you chewed them up some and then they became gum? Or the gumball machines at the video store where if you got the white ball, you got a free video, but either way, you got a rockhard piece of gum that lasted 3.4 seconds before all the flavour was gone? What about those sticky aliens that you could throw at a wall and they’d crawl down, but if you had bad aim and it ended up stuck to the popcorn ceiling in your family room your mom would stare at the sticky alien residue and rue the day someone gave you a quarter? Just me? Can’t srsly be *just* me.
I swear those things are slot machine gateway contraptions.
I have mostly outgrown my need to feed all my coins into those things. Connor doesn’t play hockey anymore, so my opportunities have diminished in both proximity and frequency now that there are less arenas in my schedule. Good thing I have a niece and nephew who are well suited to enable Auntie Mary’s arena “issues”. No candy machine rehab for me, suckas.
More recently, but still in WayBackLand, I found a Zoltar coin-operated fortune-telling machine, like the one in the movie, Big. If you have good hand-eye coordination, you aim the ramp and you send your coin into Zoltar’s mouth, and it spits out a fortune for you. I know that my skills in that department are lacking, so I didn’t engage Zoltar’s mystic powers.
But imagine, if you will, that Zoltar spit out some thinky-thoughts for me, On one side, it says, “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” On the other side, it says “If you want what lies buried, dig until you find it.” Conflicting guidance, to be sure, but the trick is to figure out how to balance on the edge of them both.
Sometimes, King Louie of Dogswald sniffs around my dad’s back yard on the canine perimeter march. Eventually, he looks suspiciously at a spot in the lawn, and with enthusiasm to make his ancestors proud, he digs a hole. Inevitably, there’s a root from my dad’s giant maple tree. My dad hacks it out, fills the hole, and gives Louie a treat. Then the game starts again. My dad considers this a most excellent symbiotic relationship. He doesn’t want roots headed toward his house, Louie find the roots. Everyone wins.
At my house, however, the squirrels run along the fence or chase each other up trees and jump fearlessly from tree to tree like vermin Wallendas. The stress is more than one doggie can take, so he shakes his silicone avocado furiously, and digs holes. Not a good symbiotic relationship. Mike threatens to bury him in his Circus Squirrel trenches. Apparently, King Louie also struggles with the two sides of Fictional-Zoltar’s prophesy.
Sidebar: I keep typing Zoltan. It’s possible that I’ve watched Dude, Where’s my Car too many times. But what’s a girl to do when there’s no Blade and no Nick Cage? No more ‘And then’!
For a long time, my mantra leaned more closely with “If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging”. That phrase literally helped me get my job at BlackBerry. And it never really occurred to me that “If you want what lies buried, dig until you find it” was the key to getting out. I say it was about the difference between the BB compensation and the Current Dayjob one. But it really really was about continuing to seek what remained (and would continue to remain) buried. That actually only occurred to me this week, when my current DayJob Bosslady tendered her resignation because she’s got more digging to do on her own career path.
Sometimes it’s good to dig. And sometimes, it’s best to move on to other things. Both mantras have served me well along the way, and so much the better now that I actually have words to wrap around the “dig until you find it” one. The skill is to know when to use each one, and I’m not sure I’m good at that part. Good thing there are always opportunities for me to pull out the Indiana Jones At Home Archeology Kit(tm). Or, yaknow, the Caterpillar earth mover. Gear up, kids!