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August 21, 2006

The Way of the Peaceful Sherpa

You shouldn’t try to teach a pig to sing. It can't be done and it makes the pig angry.

Or so goes one of my favorite quotes. I used to share it with co-workers who found our mutual employer to be impressively stubborn and unyielding. It soothed us all, partially because it reminded us to stop spitting into the wind and partially because it cast our boss as the pig, which is almost always fun.

Now, I share it with girlfriends who husbands never seem to change for long. I've learned. See, my beloved almost always walks up and down the stairs empty handed, sometimes stepping over or around little piles of shoes or stuffed animals in the process. In his special “off duty” goggles, he can’t see these items.

For me, going up and down the stairs is nearly always an opportunity to "get something done," like carrying the laundry up from the basement, or taking empty glasses from our nightstands to the sink. It's simple but it's a worldview too.

If your worldview is, "everything in the house that needs doing will be done by me sooner or later," then you might as well grab those old magazines from the bedroom and drop them in the recycling bin out front now, because you're gonna have to do it eventually anyway. See, I live in my workplace and my to do items are neatly organized on a list beside my online calendar. No, they are sitting everywhere I look, on every surface, on every floor, of every room. And unless I have a documented fever of 102 or higher, I am always on duty.

If however, your worldview is, "everything in the house that needs doing will get done by magic," or perhaps better said, "by witchcraft," you'll find that it's much more pleasant to go up and down unfettered by shoes, newspapers and bath towels. If you have left work and shaken off your work mood, your home is a haven, a place to put your feet up, a place to rest before the next day begins.

And so, in what I consider to be record time -- only six years of marriage -- I have stopped trying to teach my sweet pig to sing. I have accepted my role as household sherpa and my husband’s role as American Tourist. Lovable, oblivious, a good tipper.