Bricklayer

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Bricklayer: a person whose job is to build structures with bricks

Conventional wisdom suggests that each of us should try everything once, to be able to say we did it.

Not only is this philosophy dangerous, but the only benefit from it is to develop a sense of humor about your own limitations.

Because most things I have tried in my life I’ve really sucked at.Dictionary B

For instance, a friend from high school was building a small enclosure for his mailbox using bricks. It looked like a really simple job–so much so that he felt confident to ask me to help him lay the bricks and mortar around this mailbox, to protect it from those teenagers who thought it was clever to take a baseball bat and destroy the receptacle.

I agreed.

After all, nothing ventured, no chance for humiliation.

He took about five minutes to explain to me how to lay the bricks so they were even, with just enough mortar to hold them in place, and how to situate them in a pattern.

It looked so obvious that I have to admit that I felt a bit offended when he went into such detail.

Then he walked away.

I was left with bricks, mortar, and my Swiss cheese memory of what to do. Honest to God–I did my best.

But sometimes I used too much mortar.

Sometimes I got the bricks on crooked.

About an hour later, he came back and found that I had laid about twenty-two bricks. They were all wrong.

As I was suggesting to him that my efforts may have been flawed, and that he might want to correct them, he took a nearby sledgehammer and brought it down on my work, smashing it to smithereens.

He turned, looked at me without malice, and said, “It would take me longer to fix it than to start over again.”

As I have often done in my life pursuing various adventures, I was alerted that day to the fact… that I was not a bricklayer.

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