The Hole in My Bucket

Does everyone remember the children’s song “There’s a Hole in My Bucket” (Dear Liza… Dear Liza)?

It was about two people, Henry and Liza. If that’s not ringing any bells, here’s the gist, with a few details from my own imagination:

Henry, retired and puttering around the farm, is complaining to his dear wife of many years, that their one and only bucket (for getting water from the well), is no longer holding water. Sighing at Henry’s new-found obsession with ‘fixing things’, Liza suggests patiently to her dear Henry that he needs to patch the hole with a straw. (As a child I could not, for the life of me, figure out how a drinking straw was going to fix a hole. Oh you tricky homonyms!)

Henry tells her the straw is too long. She tells him to cut it. He asks her what he should cut it with. She, cursing mandatory retirement, tells him to use the ax. He says it’s too dull. She tells him to sharpen it. He asks “With what shall I sharpen it?” She replies, “Certainly not your wit.”  Or, maybe she suggests a stone. He says the stone is too dry. She says, “Then wet it!” He asks her what he should wet it with. She sighs, “Water.” He asks her how he shall carry it. She says, “In the bucket, Dear Henry.” He throws his arms up in triumph, or utter confusion, and says… “But there’s a hole in the bucket!”  At this point in the song, if you really want to drive someone up the wall, you are free to begin again from the first verse.

I feel for Henry. He wants to fix the problem, but he is snarled up by the Catch-22 of the whole thing. I have been facing a metaphorically similar problem (of my own making, of course), and I am happy to report that today- I conquered it!

So… the confession first:

I have been driving with expired tags. For… more than, say, a couple of weeks. More than what would be considered reasonable or understandable.

It’s not that I’m trying to get away with anything, or beat the system, or didn’t want to pay… I just, couldn’t.

Because of Confession #2:

I still have my Oregon driver’s license.

Through a variety of (semi-legitimate) reasons I’ve been able to hang onto it. But I knew I couldn’t do it again. I live here now, in a house in my name, and I’m not in school. I just felt like as long as I had it, I was still sort-of an Oregonian temporarily residing in Idaho. I hated the idea of giving it up, but I was ready to, except for the problem of Confession#3:

In order to get my shiny new Idaho ID, I’d have to take the written test (not a big deal), and pass the vision exam. Problem. When I wrote about Breaking for Leaves? I was serious about the ‘slight astigmatism’. I was pretty sure that the row of Lilliputian letters were going to defeat me.

I sometimes choose to wear my glasses for night driving. I didn’t want to have to wear them at all times while driving or risk losing my license. Plus, even worse, my lens prescription is old and very light, 20/25. There was a good chance that putting them on wouldn’t even help unbend those little shadow-y bits from the letter shapes.  Then, I would be out of luck until I could find an eye doctor, pay for that, plus new lenses and frames, so that I could go back and pay for the test, to pay for the license, to pay for the registration, to put new stickers on the car which I was petrified of driving to the DMV (or anywhere) without the new stickers!

Yep. Me and Henry.

Although, my problem with Henry and Liza, as a precocious child was that the solution seemed obvious to my little brain. These guys had SOMETHING else in the house that would hold water: a pan, a bowl, an empty tin can, their cupped hands if it came to that. They just needed to get out of their continuous loop of worry!

And so did I.

I convinced my dear, sweet, saintly mother, that she really hadn’t seen all my county has to offer until she’d been to the DMV. Her visit would not be complete! And probably she should drive.  I walked in prepared to be met with hostility, scolded, fined, and put in the stocks for public humiliation and general leering.

I walked out with everything I needed, and without anyone being mean to me! No one even asked any questions!  I am a licensed Idaho driver, with a not-terrible picture, a donor designation, and a lens restriction. Guess it’s time to start keeping the glasses in the car. It will take all the fun out of the “guess the street name by the general shape and spacing of words on the sign” game, but I left feeling almost as excited as I did at 16. And I will put the new stickers on tonight… or tomorrow.

There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,
There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hole.
Then fix it, dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry,
Then fix it, dear Henry, dear Henry, fix it.

~ by Lindsey on January 19, 2011.

One Response to “The Hole in My Bucket”

  1. This was a highlight to my day thus far. Thank you for making me laugh with your witty sarcasm and personal reflections (or degradations…lol). Enjoy your official status as an Idahoan 🙂

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