"I think of the experience as like starting an avalanche …"

Once my son learned the word 'maybe,' I never again received a definite answer out of him. Every response came filled with potential but no resolution. Jerry Weinberg came up with a dandy definition of who's in charge. "Whoever can say No! and make it stick." The one who brings maybe to a conversation might not be in charge, but they carry almost as much control as the sticky neigh sayers.Yes, on the other hand, sometimes requires some formal authority or a treasury to back it up. Worst of all might be those who agree to anything but waffle on delivery.

No-one can accuse me of being impulsive.
I recognize that I have most often said "No!" in my life, though I have only sometimes managed to make it stick. I much prefer even an inferior status quo to any more alluring alternative. This might represent a deeply-seated lack of faith on my part, but more probably just reflects another path of least resistance. Given the opportunity to make a change, I'll most often invite the offerer to just keep the change for themselves. I figure that I'm probably okay just as I am already.

Nobody can ever know their future. An opportunity could go any direction, depending upon mostly indiscernible future conditions, but a steady diet of no can take on an unintended life of its own. It might become a serious tangle, a knot, what I call a KnotNo-ing. Of course, I retain my familiar old status quo when I lead with a "No!", but a status quo ages ungracefully. Its tie goes out of fashion first, and before too long people look at you as if you're dressed in a Full Cleveland, Sansabelt® slacks, white shoes and matching belt, and an undersized Quiana shirt, and heading for a bowling alley. Whatever I might spout then seems irrelevant and dated, grandpa gibberish only family generously tolerates.

A yes can open new possibilities as well as distasteful cans of worms. I admit to having eaten my share of canned worms in my time and while I have not exactly developed a taste for them, I cannot claim to really fear them anymore, and they have not managed to kill me yet. So sometimes I break with my perhaps over-proud tradition and respond with a "Yes", maybe not the most enthusiastically, but nonetheless definitely. I go along with some scheme determined to crack open some festering barrier or chop clean through the accumulated knot. I don't know much then. I might be trading familiarity for a slightly jazzier model, but I initiate change. I typically quiver in my underpants at first, my unfamiliar uncertainty scaring me, but I proceed. I think of the experience as like starting an avalanche, producing much more than that initial nudge seemed likely to produce.

I'm teetering on just such an edge today, leaning into it again.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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