Let’s begin with a proverb that has endless variations, beginning in the 13th century, what do you say?
What’s that? You say you didn’t realize this was “The Big Blog of Outdated Poetic Crap” and you’re going back to RedTube? Well, I’ll admit that I can’t compete with such highbrow entertainment (or an equivalent happy ending) but just give me a shot and I’ll offer a full refund if you’re not satisfied.
Let’s begin, shall we? Scratch that, I’m not asking, I’m telling.
For Want of a Nail
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
According to some eggheads I consulted this proverb “describes a situation in which a failure to anticipate or correct some initially small dysfunction leads by successively more critical stages to an egregious outcome.”
Yeah, I fell asleep halfway through the explanation too. WAKE UP!
#25: The Nail
For centuries now people have put their own spin on this little poetic ditty based on their own experiences and understanding of the basic message. Everyone from Benjamin Franklin to the writers of M*A*S*H to musicians and comic book writers have used For Want of a Nail to make a point.
None of us truly realize just how important we are to the fabric our own universe. Having my lovely bride in my life has helped me keep the horrors of my childhood memories at bay. My amazing daughter keeps my desire to dream alive. Meeting people from all over the world gives me hope that we’re not going to destroy ourselves some day, in spite of the best efforts of Justin Trudeau and Donald Trump, and a million other political morons.
I can’t imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t been placed at a Zellers department store for a high school internship, or if my wife and I hadn’t consulted a fertility doctor, or if I hadn’t gone to a job fair for a hotel chain where I’d meet a senior bellman named Louie who eventually directed me to the hotel I’ve been working at for twenty years now. Our lives are a series of dominoes in the form of choices and events involving people we encounter, most of whom are more vital to our existence than we’ll ever know.
Take a moment and think hard about your past. I’m willing to bet that you’ll see more than one instance where a seemingly-trivial event or meeting actually changed your life, hopefully for the better. I’m thankful for the nails in my life (like Ronnie, whose life and ultimate end inspired this path I’m trying to follow) and I hope I’ve been a worthy nail for others.
See you in the lobby, kids…
Yes. This. Everyone’s life is made up of seemingly insignificant events that lead to other events that lead to an outcome – positive or negative. There are those events, and then there are our reactions to those events. Were we wise enough to seize that opportunity? Or did we make another choice? If we made a mistake, did we make a correction, or was this the start of a spiral into more errors? Or vice versa – did we find the nail, and thus save the kingdom? These are just some of the things that I notice and roll around my old lady brain, as I look back on my life and those around me. 🙂
Wow, those are a lot of questions, Widow.
I wish us both luck as we search for answers.
Sometimes the biggest events in life happen because you made an insignificant decision. Maybe to go somewhere or make a new friend. I always laugh at people with 5 year plans because at any point in my life, my life was different than I expected 5 years out.
Plans can change instantly, right, Kate?
Yes! I gave my boyfriend the ultimatum and then Danny came to visit his family in Madison. It’s all about timing, but even more importantly, taking chances!
Be the nail!
It may not be as much fun as being the ball, but it’s worthwhile, isn’t it. Susie?
You sir, in terms of making us ponder our lives….are no nail…You’re a GOLDEN SPIKE!!!
That’s one of the best compliments I’ve ever received.
Thanks, old friend.
Even in reading your humor I always leave with things to consider.
I know you must be looking forward to finishing the “100 Reasons” series….but….I’m not!!
That story has always resonated with me because it feels like most of my life has been a maze to run in order to get to the basic resources for living, and the times I have fully crashed out of said maze have been more than a few, but almost (almost!) every time that happened turned into a course correction that in retrospect was a bigger deal than the survival strategy that it was in the service of.
I guess you never really know what might be around the next corner, but you’ll never find out if you don’t believe the corner is there for you.
Well typed, Doug.
Your wisdom is vast, my friend.
You’re past three quarters of the way through this thing. You can do it, I have faith.
Well said, Hook. Happy Thanksgiving to you. It’s a good time to count our blessings, and all those things that a nail created in our lives.
Well said, Jennie.
yes. Yes! there are no coincidences in these encounters – virtual and otherwise. There are so many kind and creative people in the world. Many millions more speak, write, play music and live for getting along in peace. Let it be so.
Forever and ever, right?
We are all in this together.
Ooooo. Really love this one. As my overall perception has been dramatically shifting, this is exactly what most of us don’t see. How critical some little event or experience can be. How important each little thread is to the tapestry as a whole. How our mere existence impacts others far beyond what we’ll ever know. Brilliant!
That word hasn’t been applied to my work very often.