My family has been attending a new place of worship on Sunday mornings, and we think we have found the perfect spot. The Unitarian minister is engaging. The congregation is warm and welcoming. Even the coffee is good after the service. In fact, I wouldn’t fix a thing.
More to the point, I can’t fix a thing, yet that’s exactly what they asked me to do. Last week, there was a sign-up sheet posted for some terrific social networking opportunities, like movie nights and a pitch-in-dinner. My wife and I wanted to be involved in several of these activities, but while jotting down our names on a sheet, I noticed a man in a beige sweater motioning me over to his table. He was inquiring about who had certain skills to assist in some projects to spiff up the church grounds.
“Say, Dick, can you help us replace some broken windows?”
“Sorry, I don’t have a clue how to do that.”
“Any experience with electricity?”
“Bulbs. I can change bulbs.”
“How about plumbing? Can you assist with that?”
“I don’t have a prayer.”
I had to be careful. I used to belong to a temple back in New York. Jewish people have a blessing for everything and I didn’t want to find out that I did have a prayer for plumbing.
“How about just cleaning?” he asked.
My wife was on my side with this one. “He doesn’t even know how to do that at home,” she volunteered. Mary Ellen loves to volunteer. What a trouper.
I know that the Lord works in mysterious ways. But why did he have to make repairing things such a mystery to me? Growing up, everyone in my family was more adept at this kind of stuff. My father, for example, could fix anything. He’d go downstairs to his workshop with the broken cuckoo clock or an electric can opener on the fritz and an hour later emerge from the basement to flaunt his success. How about some credit for me? Where would Dad have gotten his glory if I hadn’t busted this stuff to begin with?
My mother was also skillful at repairing things. After all, she fixed dinner every night for 30 years. I had a sleazy uncle who coached football and bet on his own games. He fixed most of them. My brother was always in some kind of a fix. And my sister? Well, she spent most of her free time fixing up her unattractive friends. Even our dogs were fixed. Fixing is in the Wolfsie blood. The problem is I don’t have the patience to address repair issues and then I get very down on myself. My blood must be Type A… and negative.
I used to have a great handyman. He installed our ceiling fan, rescreened the porch and patched up the leak in our roof. He charged $50.00 an hour “…unless you help me,” he’d say, “then it’s $65.00.” Now that he’s gone, my wife’s favorite expression is, “You need to call somebody.” So I call the plumber, the electrician, the roofer, the computer repairman. I can’t fix anything. That’s why I’m broke.


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