“Stop — right there,” the choir director whispered in a harsh, low tone (did I detect some panic?) She held her hand directly in front of my face with a look of fright. When I was in high school, I played the piano for the youth choir in church . My instructions for that day had been to play a pleasant, little interlude after the minister said, “Let us pray.” But there was a kink thrown in that day. There was a baptism being performed, and it apparently slipped my wandering mind that, “Let us pray” is said many times during this kind of service. I began playing after the first “Let us pray” only to discover that it was inappropriate timing for a melodic interruption. Sooo — I invented a chord that would have made Bach turn over in his grave and I think we were able to gloss over the musical mishap.
To make matters worse, the baptism was being performed on my geometry teacher’s son. I must not have left him too scarred by the incident because he has achieved high goals, as he is now doing his residency at Duke. Whew!
We all search for ways to make an uncomfy situation comfy. We fly through life perfecting our skills by “winging it” on a daily basis. I prefer to call this act “febrezing it”.The actual product called Febreze does just that for your home. It can make a yucky situation end out smelling delightful in moments flat. My plan was to spray my way over a natural, human flaw-the quick fix with whatever it takes to make us and others come out smelling delightful. Fortunately, I was able to “febreze” right over this sticky church situation.
We find ourselves “making do” with a temporary fix for emergency measures where our brains are invited to conjure up solutions. For example, the tape on the eyeglasses act of “febrezing it” or using a potato in a gas tank if you misplace the cap. Sometimes when there isn’t time for a shower, we rationalize by thinking that a swipe of deodorant can help us “febreze” through a day. Whatever works. They are stop/gap approaches that offer short term solutions.
We’ve all “febrezed” our way through situations when we can’t recall someone’s name. Our minds are wildly searching for it and the best we can say is, “Heeeeeey. How are your children?” and hope that they don’t suspect and that they do, in fact, actually have children. However we do have the occasional “febreze backfire” when no amount of spraying over the episode is going to help. An old college acquaintance of mine came to a recent booksigning. The entire time we were talking I was desperately searching through the recesses of my mind to remember her name. She wanted to purchase a book. I asked to whom she wanted it signed. Much to my chagrin, she said, “Just sign it to me.”
‘˜Yikes! I’m busted,’ I thought. My impromptu plan was to “febreze” my way out of it, so I casually said, “How do you spell that e..x…a…c..t…l…y?” And this is when the backfiring began, as she said, “It’s Lois.” (oops! only one way to spell that!)I’I was busted! ll never forget her name ever again.
Sometimes these quick fixes work so well that they can turn into something more permanent. We become accustomed to the “febreze fix”. The drain in my bathtub stopped working years ago. The bathtub wouldn’t hold water. I “febrezed” over the situation by plugging it up with an orange rubber star that came out of a cereal box. It was a play toy for a baby. But, to me, it became a stopper that is my version of the comforting rubber ducky. This stopper has a smile on its face and I wouldn’t conceive of calling a plumber when this smiling orange rubber stopper works perfectly. I guess my only question is, “Why is it smiling?”