I Don’t Make it, I Break it

Did you know that I’m not exactly handy? I have many talents of which I am very proud, like writing, skiing, and cooking, to name a few. But don’t ask me to fix a computer. Or hang a picture on the wall. And definitely not something complicated like a leaky faucet. Sometimes I feel like I just look at something and it just stops working or shatters before my eyes. When something goes wrong in my vicinity I automatically assume it’s my fault and give my usual line: I don’t make it, I break it.

Earlier this week I arrived at an appointment and did what most of us do: I checked in with the receptionist. He asked for my name and looked it up on his computer. Of course, he couldn’t find me name. I didn’t exist, even though I had been there before. No problem, he said, he would just create a new account for me. He typed in my name and details, saved everything, then went into my new account. It wasn’t there. Whatever he did, it did not work. Then his computer froze.

It was as though I was passing vibes over to the computer, a couple of feet away, telling it to not work. I paced around nearby for a few minutes, to leave the receptionist alone, and of course the computer started to work properly again. My explanation: my mere presence causes things to break.

Have you ever noticed that the office photocopier rarely functions properly, if at all? It’s my fault. I break photocopiers, just by being near them. I look at a photocopier and it just stops working before my eyes. And if I try to fix it, well, it just gets worse.

I grew up in a house with a father who could (and still can) fix almost anything. But it was more than just fixing, it was also making, creating and building. A lightbulb burnt out in the bathroom – Dad will replace it. We got a new painting at the art gallery – Dad will hang it on the wall. We used permanent markers to colour on the kitchen table – Dad will get that stain out and make the table look like new. I always found ways to break things, but he was (and still is!) there to fix, mend and recreate (and remind me that I break things and thank goodness he’s there to pick up the pieces!).

Maybe I’m a bit harsh on myself. I am not an accident waiting to happen, and I don’t walk around smashing things and destroying everything in my path. But, if I do break something, or if technology stops working around me, I don’t know what to do.

If my computer freezes, then I turn it off and hope that it turns back on. When my car starts making strange noises or a warning light appears, I take it to the mechanic. If my toilet keeps running, then I call a plumber (or my father). I will give some credit to my husband, David, who seems to have some handyman abilities deep within. He seems to be rather capable of fixing and problem solving, but he also tends to the side of breaking. While my slogan is, I don’t make it, I break it…his slogan may be I break it, then I make it.

I am not one for New Year’s resolutions (and since it’s the Ides of March today I may be a bit late), but here is a goal for me in 2018: learn to fix something. Maybe I will learn how to hang a picture on the wall. Or maybe I will figure out how to paint a single wall in my daughter’s bedroom. Maybe it will be something as simple as walking past a photocopier without it dying.

Will my slogan change from I don’t make it, I break it to something new and exciting, and not so destructive? Maybe. Maybe not. Stay tuned.

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