Cross the Bridge When You Get There

There are, of course, many types of humans. There are those who are always late, always early, placid, confused, or anxious. Perhaps the most troubled are those who worry endlessly about the bridges they may someday have to cross. To them, I can only offer the simplest advice: “Do not worry about it until you get there.”

The problem and its solution are both illustrated by a true story from about 1900. The father of a large family was accustomed to coming home from his job at a bank every day at lunchtime, to dine with his wife and their eight children. On this particular day he opened the conversation by announcing that he was considering buying an electric buggy–the earliest version of today’s Tesla. He had barely finished the announcement when the children fell into a ferocious squabble. Finally, he calmed them enough to figure out what had provoked them. The oldest daughter said, “Sammy wants to sit on the outside seat, and that is not fair – I’m the oldest!” The father’s solution was swift and effective; he said, “Sammy, get out of the buggy!”

That was that.

‘Getting out of the buggy’ – has become a metaphor for prioritizing future issues and skipping those that need not be solved – and is an effective alternative to trying to unravel a premature and pointless problem.

It was several years before that family got its first horseless carriage!


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