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the
Tire Iron
story

Late one rainy April night, Max Woodruff, a very ordinary, and mild-mannered salesman from Phoenix, Arizona is traveling a rural Texas highway miles from anywhere. Max lives a simple life: wife, two kids, a dog named Sadie.

That was all about to change as the storm thundered down on the dark two-lane highway, and Max suddenly finds himself skidding to the shoulder of the road, his rear tire blown.

Never one to panic, Max calmly removes his coat and tie and clambers out of his car. He opens the trunk, tugging the spare and the jack from their cubby holes.

Already soaking wet, he’s about to start jacking up the car when he discovers that he doesn’t have a tire iron. There’s no changing the tire without it.

He stands up and looks around. The world seems suddenly deserted. Not a car in sight, only darkness and downpour in all directions. Suddenly though, he sees in the distance, through the storm, a light.

It’s the porch light of an old farm house, about a half mile down the road.

Putting his coat back on and braving the sharp wind and driving rain, Max heads off towards the farm house.

As he trudges on, he can’t help thinking:


You know, I'm blessed.... Really. I am. I mean, here I am miles from God knows where, in one of the worst storms of the season, with a flat tire and no tool to fix it.


Anyone else would have had to stay in their car all night, in the rain, probably catching their death.

The Farmer will smile and say that won’t be necessary, and then invite me in to warm up and dry off, while his wife offers me fresh-baked cookies, and a cup of cocoa with a marshmallow in it. I’d keep telling them it wasn’t necessary and he’ll hold up his hands and say that the good Lord provides for good people. We’ll become instant friends.

He’ll feel bad because his phone is out from the storm so he’ll ask if I’d like to spend the evening. I’ll politely decline and again gratefully request the tire iron so that I can fix the flat and be on my way. I have a wonderful family too, and they’ll be worried about me.”


As he walks, Max’s shoes have begun to slosh, now holding more water than Hoover Dam. He trudges on with a new urgency, still imagining what’ll happen at the farmhouse...

“...If the Farmer likes, he could drive me back to the car, but that’s the only inconvenience I’d ask of him.

Probably at that point the Farmer would suddenly look a bit sad and tell me that he’s sorry, but what with this weather and all, his old truck probably wouldn’t make it through the mud, and he wouldn’t want to risk breaking an axle. In other words, he’s not about to get off his fat ass to help a poor city boy in trouble!”...


The swirling wind slaps a gooey glob of leaves and mud against Max’s forehead. He’s too wrapped up in his thoughts to even wipe it off.


...”Yeah, and right about then I betcha the Farmer's wife will waddle in with her warm batch of cookies. Fresh baked? Yeah, right... I’ll bet they’re nothing more than those tasteless ‘bake & brown’ lumps of gray Playdoh that you nuke in the micro-wave for five minutes and pass off as home made. Probably charge me a buck apiece like some low-rent Mrs. Fields!

Damn that makes me mad!! When a man is down, you not only kick him, but charge him for scuffing your shoes. Why is it, these rural Ma & Pa Kettle types always come off in Norman Rockwell paintings as big-hearted, God fearing folk, only to show when the chips are really down, that they are just money grubbing opportunists, with a spit-on-you disdain for anyone who wasn’t born within twenty-five miles of their run-down, pig-crap pile they call a farm!? If he thinks for a moment, I’m going to sit still for his Mr. Haney “Sucker born every minute” line of bull, he’s got another thing coming!


By now, Max was almost up to the porch. He was so hot under the collar that when the rain hits his neck it’s turned to instant steam.


“I’ll bet the only thing this cesspool-in-overalls does all day is sit in his dingy one-room shack, peeking through the greasy fingerprint-stained curtains, hoping... just hoping for a guy like me, who works damn hard for every penny he makes... to blow a tire and come crawling... crawling through his stinkin’ barnyard mud, begging for a tire iron. Then once I have it and I’m back out there all alone in the dark having had to leave my whole damn wallet for collateral, you can bet he’ll be on the phone to the Home Shopping Network buying up every damn Capidamonte Elvis and Cubic Zirconia belly bracelet they have... using my Visa card!”


Max knocks hard on the door.
A moment later, a sweet- faced Farmer opens it.
Before the Farmer can say a word:

Max decks him as he shouts:

“You selfish, greedy son-of-a-bitch!
You can take your %@$#^$@#* tire iron and shove it where the sun don’t shine!!”

As you can see, it obviously wasn’t the Farmer (or the tire iron) that turned Max into a soggy, Brooks Brother’s clad Mike Tyson. Max did it to himself.

Just as we all do when we IMAGINE what our boss may have in store for us. By creating some sort of worst-case scenario, by imagining a monster that most likely is not even there, you’re not only handing your boss the keys to your life, but all your credit cards to pay for gas.

As Freud once said:
"Sometimes a cigar is JUST a cigar!!"

Sometimes things are just what they seem.

Harmless little moments that we blow so out of proportion that we only end up hurting ourselves... and our jobs... and worse, giving our bosses the power to rule (and ruin) our lives.
   


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