Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

April 12, 2013

Gary's World: Unexpected stings can be positive influence

By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer

CROSSVILLE — It's funny how the little things in life can bring about big revelations.

I left for work a little early Thursday morning because I had to stop and get gas. When I went to refuel the vehicle I naturally had to open the cover to the gas cap. As I unscrewed the gas cap I felt an awful, sharp jab into my left index finger and an instant throbbing sensation. My hand automatically jerked back in reaction the sharp pain and the gas cap went flying over the gas pump and into the other lane. I then saw a brownish, black wasp come flying out from the gas cap area and land on the ground in front of me. I quickly stomped it as my finger throbbed more and more.

What a sharp, unexpected, inconvenient pain that was.

I immediately thought, "What could I have done differently to avoid having that wasp sting happen?"

I guess I could have looked more carefully when I opened the gas cover. I could have inspected the area surrounding the gas cap in the little compartment and maybe I would have seen the wasp.

I finished fueling the car, paid and headed back home to get bug sting reliever medicine and an antihistamine. Notice how I'm avoiding all trademark names possible here?

Anyway, I applied the medicines and went on with my day. Thank goodness I didn't have some kind of allergic reaction.

That totally unexpected wasp sting made me realize that how we react to problems, or inconveniences, no matter how big or small, defines our character as people.

I know many people who would have become so angered after that sting, or reacted in such a way that they would have let it ruin their entire day. I'm not naming names here, though.

Some may have even gone home and called off work for the day and wallow in self pity.

I decided to make my wasp sting a learning lesson.

We all meet people from different walks in life who have experienced all sorts of hardship or tragedies. I think we should take a minute and look at the people we know and what they have experienced in their lifetime and how they have dealt with their triumphs and tragedies.

Sometimes I look back at the past and reminisce and think about how I would love to go back.

What would I change, redo or modify? A lot of things, but the when I think again, I wouldn't be the person I am now and my relationships with friends and family members could be totally different. I wouldn't want that. So, before firing up the WABAC time machine from Peabody's Improbable History of Rocky and His Friends and The Bullwinkle Show, I will look at the way things are and be content with the world I have and know.

I remember one year I was mowing the lawn and ran over a hornet's nest and was stung no less than five times. It was awful.

Sometimes it takes a wasp's sting to spark feelings of thankfulness for the world being the way it is and leading one to look at the glass as being half-full.

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Gary Nelson is a Crossville Chronicle staffwriter. His column is published each Friday. He may be reached at gnelson@crossville-chronicle.com.