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Sunday, April 9, 2017

That Should Have Worked

My father was a handyman who solved problems through trial and error.  He always succeeded but he failed along the way, muttering memorably for me: "That should have worked."

But his first tries often didn't work, and that puzzled him.  Stepping back from his projects, he would eye the recalcitrant leaking faucet or dead light fixture and go through his projected problem-solving steps out loud, concluding once again, "That should have worked."

Since then, I have heard computer guys do the same thing.  They understand technology, maneuver through it fearlessly and intuitively until one day they get stuck like the rest of us, and step back and say just as a handyman does:   "That should have worked."

Happily the opposite also happens, for I find that a book that shouldn't have sold as well as its sisters sells better, and essays ( entries) will inexplicably gain a greater readership than the key words in the title would suggest they could.  The best read essay on this blog has the title "Thank you for your patience."

There is nothing grand about the title; all the words are common and the ideas in the blog entry are based upon good manners alone.  Yet, the essay is the most popular.

A book I wrote for my niece when she married A Cookbook for Katie shouldn't sell four times better than the other books I've written, but it does.   The premise of the book is that it is for someone who doesn't know how to cook written by someone who is an ordinary cook at best. It also has the specific name of someone in the title; yet people buy the book in e-format and paperback every day, and they can't all be named Katie, can they?

In short, instead of saying, "That should have worked" I find myself saying, "That shouldn't have worked."  

Life continues to surprise us, and maybe it's a good idea to focus more often on the happy surprising endings than the dull process of problems that didn't resolve as logic dictated they would.

Daphne Simpkins writes about life in the South, church, cooking and caregiving. Her most recent novel is Christmas in Fountain City .

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