Personal Journeys with Gramma

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The Fragile Bliss of Ignorance or How I Learned to Avoid Blowing Up

Ignorance is bliss only until it blows up on you.

car fire article-1343247-0C9DE652000005DC-962_634x398

Recently, my husband went to a local mechanic about a distinctive gasoline smell in our car’s engine.  The mechanic said he guessed the problem was a hole in one of the car’s two oil pans, and we would need to seek service from a dealership.  Obediently, we complied.  We happily drove over a hundred miles to a bigger city, thinking more about the indulgent lunch we would buy than about the car that was taking us there.

We’ve known the service manager of the dealership for many years, and we trust his word through experience.  So, when we arrived at the service desk, ready to retrieve our repaired vehicle and go home, we were surprised to see his grim expression.  He pulled out a long list of problems the technician had found in our car.  (No, it wasn’t a padded list, unfortunately.)  We sighed, hearing the mental ca-ching of costs rising.  But we weren’t ready for the topper.

“I can’t let you drive this car until it’s repaired,” the manager told us.  “How long have you been smelling gas?”

My husband shrugged.  “Maybe a month?”

The service manager sighed.  “The after-market fuel filter your mechanic installed ruptured and has been spewing gas on your engine.  I don’t know why you haven’t blown up or at least become a fireball.  All it would’ve taken was a single spark.  But that’s not going to happen on my watch.  I’ll give you a loaner car to use until we can order and install the parts we need.”

My husband and I acted cheerful as we accepted the loan of a much nicer car than the one we had brought.  However, we didn’t continue the litany of little complaints we had discussed on the way to the dealership—problems such as mice in our basement or confusion over our cell phone plans.  With dismay in his voice, my husband repeated the total bill we would have to pay for our car repairs.

I smiled.  “At least we didn’t blow up.”

He agreed, also smiling.  “Yes, at least we didn’t blow up.”

Thus, we discovered a new phrase to use to put life into perspective:  No matter how frustrating the day becomes, at least we didn’t blow up. 

No, I don’t think ignorance is bliss.  My husband and I should’ve investigated the facts around the condition of our car without blindly accepting the word of a mechanic who wasn’t well enough informed or skilled enough to be an absolute authority.  If we had died, we would’ve been at least partially to blame.

I see too many people who choose not to learn the facts they need to make their life decisions wisely, and I’m reminded that those lives could blow up in their faces.  Sadly, they wouldn’t be the only victims of the consequences, as we may not have been the only victims if our car had become a fireball.  Bad mistakes have collateral damage.

The moral of my story (as I see it) is keep daily life in perspective because you don’t know what misfortunes AREN’T happening to you, and don’t be too lazy to become well informed.  Your life may be at stake.

2 comments on “The Fragile Bliss of Ignorance or How I Learned to Avoid Blowing Up

  1. Reba Whiles
    August 14, 2016

    Very interesting and well written, including a serious teaching point!

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