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How can I trust Joe again?

(Life 168 - Season 1 Episode 6)

In the last chapter, Dwight was between the devil and the deep blue sea because Joe was a great mechanic for Dwight's car but he was untrustworthy.

Between the devil and the deep blue sea

I didn't like my options. Should I try to insist that Joe be more reliable in his promises to me? Should I try to find a new mechanic who would likely be more expensive and maybe not do as good a job? Or should I just suck it up and tolerate Joe's unreliability? Why did Joe have to be this way?!

I decided to just look at the facts and let go of what I think "should be."

  • Joe was a good friend.

  • Joe was a good mechanic for my car.

  • Joe charged me very reasonable repair fees.

  • Although Joe always returned my car later than when he said he would, it was rarely more than a week late as long as I "kept the pressure on."

  • It would be problematic to find another mechanic to repair my car so well and with such reasonable fees.

Every choice has benefits, costs, possibilities, and risks

Certainly, it would be nice to have "everything" I wanted. But given the tradeoffs, it because obvious that I should stick with Joe and make a game out of it.

The game

"When will I get my car back, Joe?"

"You'll have it on Tuesday," Joe promises.

"Oh, that's great. It's difficult to do without my car," I reply.

Unbeknownst to Joe, I have already made plans to get by without my car for at least a week more than what he has promised.


"Joe, where's my car?!" I ask on the telephone.

"So sorry, so sorry...I got tied up with another emergency. I promise you'll have it by Friday, okay?"

"Okay, I guess that will have to do," I reply with a sigh.


"Joe, I need my car!" I exclaim over the telephone.

"I really feel bad, Dwight. I've been buried here. I won't do anything else until I get it finished. But I still have to ask you to wait until Tuesday. I'm really so sorry..."

"This time is for sure, okay?!" I emphasize.

"Okay, for sure!" Joe reassures.

Tuesday again

I'm delighted to have my car again. Joe proudly shows me the carburetor he overhauled that works perfectly now. He also points out a few other minor repairs he took care of that I hadn't even noticed.


He informs me of the charge, which as always is quite reasonable. I pay him immediately.

"Joe, I am lucky to have you both as my friend and as a master mechanic!" 

Joe is beaming.

Changing the game

I changed my should from "Joe should get my car back when he says he will" to "Joe should get my car back whenever he does," and I adjusted for that eventuality, while still doing what I could (pretending to be upset when he was "late") to get it back as soon as possible.

Joe's over-promising habit affected everyone, not just me. His other friends continued to complain about him. Not me. I was happy with the way Joe was and we continued to have a great relationship.


Ten years of trying to find my career with no success

I knew that having a career I would love was important

At age twelve, my uncle was a dairy farmer. I didn't like the idea of being a dairy farmer because you had to milk the cows twice a day. So I decided to be a beef cattle farmer and I joined the Future Farmers of America.

Preacher, gadget inventor, trumpet player, medical technologist

A young guest minister inspired me with his Sunday sermon at our local Presbyterian church in Flatrock, South Carolina. So I thought I would become a minister.

Later Thomas Edison became my hero and I thought I could be a good gadget inventor.

In high school, I played the trumpet in the Shelby High School marching band. I wrote a letter to The Lawrence Welk Show on TV and asked how much they paid their trumpet players. When the reply came back and their salary seemed low to me, I decided not to become a professional trumpet player.

I met a woman who worked as a medical technologist at the Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. She took me under her wing and I decided to become a medical technologist. I studied all about blood cells. My biology teacher, Mrs. James Hopper, let me teach a class about blood to my fellow biology students. I typed everyone's blood in my local Shelby, North Carolina neighborhood.

Square dance caller, custom furniture maker, pure mathematician, philosopher, night watchman or underwater welder

I remember practicing square dance calls while I moved the neighbors' lawns for spending money, thinking it would be a fun job with pay that wasn't too bad.

Thinking it would be fun and creative to be a custom furniture maker, I built a custom chair for myself. I lost interest in that job after that.

I entered North Carolina State College, majoring in mathematics, thinking I wanted to be a pure mathematician and study prime numbers.

Once I discovered Ayn Rand, I decided to be a philosopher. To support myself before I became famous enough to get money from writing, I first planned on saving up beaucoup bucks. I thought I could save enough in two years to last me a lifetime off the interest (you could get 4% on your money in 1964) by becoming an underwater welder. I even signed up for a training course in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. At that time underwater welders were paid over $100 per hour, which equals about  $1000 per hour today in 2022 dollars.


Later I considered write-and-study-as-you-go by working as a night watchman.

At 22 I quit college, no closer to finding my career

In college, once I decided that math wasn't a career path for me, I took any course that looked interesting, hoping it might lead me to my career. No such luck. 

Finally, after three years of college, I realized that the only reason I was staying in college was to avoid the military draft. I found a way to avoid the draft by joining the Marine Corps Reserves and I quit college.

Here I was at 22 and, after ten years of searching, I was dead in the water with what to try next.

If you were in my shoes, what would you have done?

Everything I had considered over the previous ten years

didn't seem important enough, 

except for maybe being a philosopher.

But where's the juice in that?

The finale coming soon: Life 168 - Season 1 Episode 7

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