Work like a knotted ball of string

By Robert Arrowsmith


Robert Arrowsmith

Robert Arrowsmith

Growing up, and even today, I have always liked to sort through knots. It requires patience, and sense of order, consistency, and a motivation to get all the way through.

Every project, career opportunity, or objective I have ever taken on I have approached like a knotted ball of string, yarn, cord; whatever I want to use for a visual, that has been just piled back up and left to sit there.

For the sake of my column today, I will use an extension cord as often I catch myself having to straighten it out before I can use the weed eater in my yard.

My goal is to sort through the knots, straighten them out, and put them in a position to not be knotted again. As I am straightening out the cord, I come across things that stuck in between that are not part of the cord. Things like pieces of trash, other objects that got caught in the pile, etc.

In addition, depending on how long the cord has sat, I run into kinks in the cord that will need to be smoothed out, and need to not sit, but also stretched in order to be straight and smooth again.

Some kinks, depending on the length of time sitting, simply cannot be straightened out.
And so, I straighten the cord out, and I plug it in, and it works … it gets the job done. I finish the task at hand for the day, and I roll it back up, carefully trying to make the cord that much simpler to use the next time.

Because the cord was kinked, rolled up, knotted, most likely I did not get the full possible length out of the cord that first time. It worked overall, but not to its maximum capability.

No matter what I do with the cord the first time, some parts of it are still going to kink again. Some knots are going to tend to naturally try to knot back up. Tension in the cord will have changed during usage, being stretched in ways it had not been stretched before, and when the tension is eased, will tend to try to go back to its old shape.

As a result, the next time I will again follow through the process with the following exception: Each kink, or knot, that may not have been corrected the first time may take another approach in order to make the entire cord more effective. Other kinks or knots you worked the first time simply need repetition and get better with each usage.

You continue to work the line, until you get the entire cord to run with maximum efficiency when put to use, as that is the goal in the end.

And yes, sometimes in the end, no matter what you do, the cord isn’t going to run at maximum efficiency.

Recently, I have chosen to end volunteer time and efforts with Clovis and Portales MainStreets.

Sometimes long established kinks are just going to remain kinks no matter what you try to do to help.

Robert Arrowsmith is publisher of Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: