– Going from bad to worse.

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People often ask me where I get the ideas for the topics I write about. Although most of it is from my own personal observations, I do occasionally get suggestions from my readership, such as today’s topic which was suggested by a friend in Finland who recently learned a difficult lesson, namely, “No problem is too big that you cannot make it bigger.”

In my friend’s case, earlier this summer he was surprised by his wife, whom he had been married to for twelve years, that she had filed for divorce and wanted to keep the kids and that he should move out of their house. This came at a particularly awkward time in his life as he was starting a new job and was still on probation with the company. Naturally he became depressed by the events, but instead of turning to alcohol he found solace driving his motorcycle each night after work, usually 200 to 300 miles every night, then arriving home after midnight exhausted. It wasn’t uncommon for him to drive over the speed limit, but to his credit, he did this on rural roads with much less traffic than the major highways. One night while going to meet his family and iron out the final details of his divorce, he was clocked on his motorcycle doing 75 mph in a 50 mph zone. Although he tried to explain his plight to the two Finnish police officers who stopped him, they were unmoved and issued him a ticket for $1,600 and suspended his driving license for four weeks. (Note to self: Finnish Police are not a sympathetic lot).

So, in addition to paying for hefty legal fees related to the divorce and wrangling over custody and settlement issues, my friend now has to pay a stiff fine for speeding and make other arrangements to get to work. As he explained to me, just when you think a problem can’t get any bigger, it goes from bad to worse.

My friend’s situation reminded me of an old story that also exemplifies the point, one that is somewhat legendary. It also involves a motorcycle as driven by a teenager. While doing some basic maintenance on the bike in the garage of his home, he accidentally dropped the bike thereby causing gasoline to leak out of the gas tank and on to the garage floor. The teenager got some rags, soaked up the gasoline, and rung them out in the toilet of the bathroom adjacent to the garage. Unfortunately, he failed to flush the toilet. The teenager’s father came down to use the toilet, totally unaware of what had transpired. While sitting on the john he lit up a cigarette and, as you can imagine, was blown off of the toilet by the combustion. I believe he was left with a pipe stem and two raisins. The teenager called 911 and summoned an ambulance. The paramedics placed the father on a stretcher face down (for obvious reasons) and asked how this happened. As the teenager explained the story, the paramedics began to laugh, so hard in fact they dropped the man from the stretcher, thereby breaking his shoulder.

So I guess the lesson is obvious: Just when you think things can’t get any worse, they undoubtedly will.

First published: September 16, 2008

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Copyright © 2019 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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