I didn’t know the neighbor at the far end of my walking route, but I felt badly for them. One night during the sweltering summer months, someone had backed into their brick mailbox stand, toppling the top half of the four-foot-high monument adorning their front yard.
Apparently too heavy to remount, the beheaded portion stood akilter alongside its base, jagged edges exposed in a pathetic silent plea: Fix me!
I could just picture Mrs. Homeowner helpfully reminding (some call it nagging) the little mister every day to “Do something with that mailbox, dear,” and him replying, “Just what do you suggest I do with 300-lbs of broken mortor and brick, dearest?”
So there sat the unsightly mound of brokenness, day after day, month after month. Finally, October rolled around and I couldn’t help but smile as I rounded the corner on my morning walk to find their marvelous solution. Someone (I assume the creative missus) had strung fake Halloween spiderwebs all over both halves and decorated it in classic Adams Family motiff.
It actually looked terrific! Like a larger version of the vase of rose stems Morticia had carefully de-budded.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of all the broken, bulky, unfixable things in our lives. They sit there day after day, year after year, hulking reminders of our inadequacy as we glare at them, grouse about them, but don’t actually do anything to fix them. Maybe we can’t. Maybe we just plain won’t. But whatever the reason, they remain a constant source of irritation and embarrassment.
Yet here was a delightful effort to make the best of the worst, to salvage a little dignity and humor from among the ruins. An object lesson from which we could all benefit.
If you can’t fix it, decorate it!