Don't you just love getting a little something extra? Sure you do. Everybody does. That's why Online marketers throw in 36 bonus ebooks with that little software item they are peddling.
But a little something extra is not always a good thing.
Flash back a few weeks. I was assembling a dresser for my daughter. One by one, I pulled the wood panels from the box. I pulled out a bag of bits and pieces, which was attached to another, which was attached to another, which was attached to another.
I held up the chain of bags to inspect. There were screws and bolts and dowels and nails and an assortment of metal and plastic bits for which no name exists.
I set about banging bits into boards, sliding bits into boards, screwing bits into boards, snapping bits into boards. By the time I reached step 439 of the instructions, I was finally ready to connect two panels (the bottom and one of the sides).
But wait. What's this semi-white plastic half-moon piece? And what about this black plastic tube no more than an inch long? Where do these mystery pieces go?
I reread the parts inventory – every chapter of it – in English, French and Spanish. I took a magnifying glass to every page of pictograms. But not a trace of either mystery piece. What should I do? I could not just throw them away. What if I discover next week that I really need them?
That's when I remembered the "Spare Parts Gremlins". These devious creatures gleefully toss spare parts in where they will most confuse us.
The Spare Parts Gremlins were there last Christmas when I was picking from a box of chocolates. I wondered what the big round one was? I looked at all the little drawings, but it just was not there.
I toyed with the idea of just tasting it. But what if it was coffee flavored? I don't like coffee. (Yes, I know. My mother dropped me on my head when I was young.) What if it was mint flavored? Sorry, but chocolate covered toothpaste just is not my thing. What if it was cheesecake flavored? Mmm. No, that would be just wishful thinking. "Ooh. I hate you Spare Parts Gremlins."
The Spare Parts Gremlins were there at the movie theatre. We were watching The Matrix Reloaded, a psychological action film, when all of a sudden a love-making scene popped out of nowhere. Neo and Trinity were expressing their friendship in a way that only a man and a woman can. The camera switched back and forth between the couple and a mass party of gyrating hips and earthy rhythmic music.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy gyrating hips as much as the next person, but the scene was out of context like a cowboy at a tea party in an English garden. The Spare Parts Gremlins strike again!
Gremlin One: Hey, I have a love-making scene here. It's sort of a primal Amazon thing. What should I do with it?
Gremlin Two: We have to find a totally unrelated film. What about The Matrix Reloaded?
Gremlin One: That's perfect!
You just never know what gremlin will show up. You have to be prepared. Take a deep breath. In. Out. In. Out. That's it. Stay calm. OK, continue with your life.
So here I stand with one dresser, two plastic parts that I don't dare throw away in case they actually are needed somewhere, and the fear that the Spare Parts Gremlins are lurking somewhere in my house, ready to force "a little something extra" on me again when I least suspect it.
The author is David Leonhardt, The Happy Guy, author of Climb Your Stairway to Heaven: the 9 habits of maximum happiness at http://TheHappyGuy.com/happiness-self-help-book.html and publisher of Your Daily Dose of Happiness at http://TheHappyGuy.com/daily-happiness-free-ezine.html. Visit his web site at http://TheHappyGuy.com.