I Can’t Solder (In Bed)
You know you do it, I do too. You end every fortune cookie with a given phrase:
- …in bed.
- …except in bed.
- …with animals. (My old church youth leader taught us that one, actually.)
Here’s a new one for you: Yet.
There’s a huge difference between “I can’t do that” and “I can’t do that yet.” One is a closed door, the other an open pathway. There are indeed certain things we really “can’t” do: Breaking the sound barrier on foot. Eating a Volkswagen in under five minutes. Falling in love with a sparkly teenage vampire. (Well okay, that last one is more of a “shouldn’t fucking ever” than a “can’t”.)
Maybe as we (humans) get old, we begin to think “by now, I should know everything, therefore anything I don’t know how to do is impossible.” We tell ourselves this because it’s a lot easier to close a door than walk down a pathway. The irony is that we grow fat and sedentary while voraciously reading stories of people changing the course of their lives— starting that new business, climbing that mountain, building that airplane –at a time when they should be having their midlife crisis, buying a motorcycle, ruining their marriage and alienating their kids.
You know, like normal people do.
Ever since I decided to overhaul my image and focus more on the outer space stuff, I’ve encountered a whole lot of “I can’t do that”, to which I’ve had to append a whole lot of “yet.” The funny thing is that the more you say “yet”, the quicker it comes to mind each time you encounter another closed door.
- I can’t sew yet. I really never sewed anything before deciding to make my own video set backdrops. I learned how.
- I can’t solder yet. I needed to build my own effect lighting out of LED strips, but I’d never used a soldering iron before. I learned how.
- I can’t build my own electronics yet. I could’ve spent hundreds of dollars on hardware that would control lighting for me, but instead I bought an Arduino and learned how to make my own damn system. Now I’m thinking about building my own stage robot.
There are still plenty of doors in my life for which the universal key is yet. I can’t play the guitar, I can’t skydive, I can’t drive stick, I can’t speak any language but English.
There’s no harm in adding that word to a lot of “I can’t” fortunes. At the very least, you’re opening that door to see where the pathway could lead. Sometimes it’s scary (as in “could involve a career change or going back to school”), but sometimes it’s as simple as asking someone with knowledge how to do something.
It’s amazing how that simple change in outlook has given me a sense of possibility I haven’t felt since I was playing around with my first MIDI hardware in junior high school. By this time next year, who knows: maybe I’ll be posting blog entries in Spanish.