"Excuses are the nails that build the house failure."

Paul Bunyan's Beard

Life Rule #4902:  The Collision Course

Life Rule #4902: The Collision Course

I’m picturing a scene where train A is barreling down the tracks heading west, while train B comes racing down those same set of tracks heading east. Don’t fret, I’m not setting you up with a math problem. The problem I AM setting you up with is that of the inevitable train wreck, and no, I’m not talking about the Olsen twins. Trains A and B are moving along the same rail system, and now that we have that little nugget of information, we’re all comfortable deducing the one outcome in existence. These two locomotives are going to meet in a spectacular clash of steel and fury.

I led with that silly observation in an attempt to springboard into today’s Life Rule, and I likely failed.

The situation in discussion is one we’ve all found ourselves in: You’re walking down the sidewalk, grocery isle, or any old place your feet can take you. You’ve charted a path for which you’d prefer to follow when all of a sudden you look up and notice that not more than twenty feet in front of you appears a person seemingly with the same objectives in mind, only they’re course is charted for an inevitable collision with you. As the distance between you grows frighteningly smaller you both wonder who will break ranks first. Is it a point of pride? This is YOUR route and anyone else foolish enough to cross streams best radio air traffic control for the recommended diversion. Perhaps it’s simply a matter of distraction. You caught the eye of a lovely lady across the street or someone’s dog is adorable enough to warrant a second glance. No matter the reason; by the time you focus your attentions back to the task at hand the realization of the grave mistake made comes too late. Sirens start wailing in anticipation of the direct hit.

What comes next is pivotal, and I’m not sure what the magic number is when it comes to starting your ensuing move, but once you’re both a certain distant away from each other the shuffling begins, and oh what a dance it is! It is at this moment to two of you become magnetized to one another. You slide right; they mirror your maneuver. You spin left; expect the same from your adversary. It’s as if you’re both playing an inaudible game of Simon Says where there are no winners. And really, there are no winners in an actual game of Simon Says, either. So after a few rounds of angular movement imitations you arrive at ground zero. You’re either going to collide with one another or throw on the emergency brake and reassess the situation. More often than not you’ll both dig in at the last second and one of you will offer a right of passage by way of a simple hand gesture or the charitable “Go ahead” signal. Either option plays out better than a physical clash, but much less entertaining.

Now there’s a third option I implore you all consider trying at one point in your life, and that mission, should you choose to accept, will send shock waves around the globe. Once you’ve gotten past the point of mimicking one another’s dodge ball tactics and you’re headed for the confrontation, I want you to just walk right up to them and give them a big old bear hug. While you’re embraced I want you to lean in and whisper “That was fun. Let’s do it again sometime.” And then just continue on your way! Joy will find a new home on that day. I won’t guarantee that outcome as it could just as likely end with you getting socked in the tummy, but I feel confident enough to give the higher percentage to a bewildered, yet strangely satisfied individual on the receiving end of that engagement.

Why are we so hung up on avoiding each other? Get in there and make someone feel special, if not down right uncomfortable. You’ll both have lovely stories to tell later that day even if the emotion fueling those stories comes from a completely different part of the heart. And if the hug takes you too far outside your comfort zone then just say something silly. Examples provided:

“Checkmate.”

“You should have won the Heisman Trophy.”

“Richard Simmons called. He wants his exercise moves back.”

“Did you just Cupid Shuffle me?”

Make it your own, just make sure it happens.

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