"A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds." ~Mark Twain
I'm self-sufficient, and often (well...sometimes) independent. And yes, I've even painted a few fences in my day...scalloped, straight edged, dog-eared, flat top, French Gothic, wrought iron, and even the simpler traditional white picket variety.
In the event that you've never had the thrill of doing so yourself, it goes something like this -- in the blazing sun you stand at one end with a bucket of paint in one hand and a brush in the other, sighing, dipping your brush in the paint, sighing some more, dripping paint here and there, swiping the paint-filled brush up and down said fence, wiping the sweat from your brow, only to repeat this over and over, again and again, interminably from one boring end to the other -- wishing you were anywhere else, doing anything else.
Independent thinking is a rarity these days, but it's a bare necessity when hoping to see and act clearly. And clearly the independent and fast-thinking Tom Sawyer, the smart-aleck kid whose adventures were brought to life in the book by Mark Twain, made whitewashing his fence look like such a blast that he was able to dupe all his friends into doing the tedious job for him while he kicked-back, soaked in the sun and simply watched -- thereby delegating and declaring his independence from fence painting.
Independence Day, also known as The 4th of July, commemorates the 1776 event when our nation's founding fathers signed The Declaration of Independence -- a watershed of clarity in the history of democracy. So what better way to celebrate our nation's birthday than by pulling out all the stops with parades, patriotic displays, picnics, pyrotechnics and just about anything red, white and/or blue...including paint for fences.
Now in the event that you don't have the clarity of mind or the independent spirit necessary to properly clean your paintbrushes in a timely fashion, you can soften hardened bristles by soaking them in hot full-strength white vinegar. Place the vinegar in a glass or plastic cup in the microwave (or in a pan on the range top) and bring it to a slow boil. Remove it from the heat source and soak your paintbrushes in it overnight. That usually does the trick.
The iconic and metaphorical "white picket fence" has become a symbol embodying the so-called American Dream. But in reality, it needs continual maintenance. So in lieu of the fence or the smarts to get your friends to paint it for you, how does one achieve the American Dream? Maybe it's in moments of independence, when we see and act with clarity, and when our original ideas succeed, that the dream is found in our own definitions...not Tom Sawyer's.
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