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Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Learning comes through a myriad of media, not the least of which is electric fence.  Will Rogers is famously quoted as saying, "There are three kinds of men.  The one that learns by reading.  The few who learn by observation.  The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."  (I suppose the analogy holds for females also, though visualizing that third rail of learning seems a bit of a stretch to me).

To date, I have only one grandson and he has only one living grandfather.  My grandson, at the age of three, learned the hard lesson of the electric fence (we call it "hot wire" at the ranch), to which Will Rogers alluded.  As I and a son-in-law were busy putting a new floor in the cattle trailer, my grandson was playing around the barnyard in our vicinity.  He kept grabbing hold of the electric fence, despite our repeated admonitions to avoid it.  The reason he was not getting shocked by the fence was because he was wearing rubber-soled boots at the time.  Thus, the hard life-lesson we were trying to help him avoid was erroneous in his three-year old mind, as the "evidence" we were prophesying was not forthcoming.  


My grandson managed to lean into a metal fence post with one arm while grasping the electrified hot wire with the other hand.  Then, most assuredly, the physics (and lesson) of electric current made its way through his short mass of protoplasm.  
My grandson then 
whimpered, and 
held his electrified arm, as if broken. 

No, there was/is no lasting physiological or psychological damage.  
But, in fact, there was/is a valuable lifelong lesson learned (several, actually).  

Hard lessons are like that - painfully "seared" into our consciousness.  And usually, if they don't kill you, it makes you stronger/smarter.

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