In my household, the “jack story” comes up with some frequency… that is whenever someone’s doing the “jack story” on themselves… we say, “Hey, you’re doing the jack story on yourself.” It’s very simple but very effective in lovingly reminding someone that they are going down the wrong path.
All right, so there’s this story – maybe more like a very poignant joke about what happens when we jump to conclusions. And I’m changing the language here so this is PG rated.
I’m sure there are probably various versions… if you know a different one, drop down to the comments section and let me know.
Mine is about a traveling salesman. This was long before cell phones or Starlink technology, where you could just call and just get somebody to help.
So back in the day this guy, this salesman, is out in the countryside driving on a lonely road on his way home. And he gets a flat tire. He goes, “Oh man this is just what I need now. I gotta change a tire.”
It’s been a long day and it’s nearing dusk. Ugh. So he pulls over to the side of the road, gets out and walks around to open the trunk, throws the mat back and takes the spare tire out… but he can’t find the jack. You know, that mechanism that raises the car off the ground so you can take off the flat tire and put the new one on. Well, without the jack, he can’t change his tire and be on his way.
He takes a big sigh, looks around. It’s a desolate back road, and growing dark. But he sees a light in the distance. Looks to be a farmhouse, but IT IS A WALK. [SIGH] So now he’s frustrated – maybe like any of us would be in this situation. But, hum, he thinks, most everybody has a car jack… especially a farmer with all his mechanics. So, mustering his resourcefulness, he decides he’s gonna trek over there, he’s gonna get a jack from the farmer, change his tire and head home to his family, who doesn’t know where he is because remember, this is before cell phones.
So he sets out in a bee line straight toward that light toward the farm house. He crosses a dry ditch alongside the road, has to step through a barb wire fence and snags his pants. “Damn, this farmer better have a jack!” He says to himself.
He keeps walking and he’s crossing a pasture. He’s cursing. It’s getting darker now. He steps in a cow pie. “Oh man.” Shakes it off his shoe. He thinks, “I’m probably gonna get all the way over there, and nobody’s gonna be home!” His frustration is turning into agitation… but he keeps going. He’s dirty and tired and fed up, but he’s on track.
So he finally reaches the backyard of this farmhouse where the light’s shining. As he gets closer to the house he sees a dim light inside. “Hmmm,” he says, “I’ve come all this way, and they probably won’t even answer the door. Or worse yet, the farmer’s gonna show up with a shotgun.”
But he shuffles up the steps to the backdoor. And he knocks. Nobody answers. “Humpf.” He’s really getting upset now. But he knocks again and waits. The anger is rising. But he hears some shuffling from inside… there’s long pause and then the turning of a rusty doorknob. The salesman’s fuming… “What a waste of my time” he says to himself.
The door slowly opens and a kindly wrinkled man’s face appears looking at the salesman and says, “Hey there, what can I do for you Mister?”
Well, the salesman is so worked up by this time, he just narrows his eyes and glares at the old farmer and barks, “Just keep your fricking jack” and turns around and stomps off.
Ok, that’s the jack story… How often have you wanted or needed something and started telling yourself head stories of all the reasons that you’re not either gonna get what you need or that-thing-you-want-to-happen isn’t gonna happen? How often?
Maybe you’re not even aware of the sabotaging stories you tell yourself. It IS important to develop the awareness to see when self-defeating thoughts creep in, whether it’s about our desires for a new job, a new relationship, getting in shape, learning something new – or even when you have to ask for help… like the salesman. Cultivating that awareness is essential in creating new healthy behaviors in our lives.
As like to say, if nothing changes… nothing changes.
Do you have some thoughts about how the jack story creeps into your life? Or how you stopped it from creeping? Drop down to the comments section and let me know.
I’m Becca Williams and I want you to lead your most magnificent life and I want help you do that.