The Lightbulb Myth (and the lightbulb joke)

We've had a situation we've been dealing with for the last week and a half and it made me think of this old joke...

Q: How Many Episcopalians does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Four. One to call the electrician, one to fix the martinis, and two to talk about how the old lightbulb was much better.

Last week, my mother-in-law called to let us know that one of her overhead recessed lightbulbs needed to be changed and that it might be a problem since the bulbs were not standard. Also because the old bulbs were about a hundred years old and they don't make them anymore. They are no longer extant (you can't even find 'em anywhere on the internet, though she was able to produce the original '60s box for the offending bulb).

Husband took on the task and the bulbs he chose, as we feared, were wrong (to her). He returned those and bought an alternate bulb, which was wrong too (to her). He's been to at least seven stores and I've overheard at least two lengthy telephone conversations he's had with his mom explaining to her why it's not possible to replace her old bulbs with the same bulbs (mind you, there are plenty of bulbs out there that fit, look, and work just fine; they're just not the same bulb).

Anyway, I'll spare further details about the lightbulb situation, but the joke did come to mind and I thought of my mother-in-law, a lifelong Episcopalian. In the joke, she would be one of the two that complained about how the previous lightbulb was so much better. She wouldn't have called the electrician, she would have called Husband, and she wouldn't have mixed the martinis since she doesn't drink.

Years ago, my sister's husband came up with a term that he uses when he decides that any one of us has spent an excessive amount of time worrying about any given thing. We're focusing. It's really irritating when he accuses any of us of focusing, but it's very accurate and he'd have a field day with my mother-in-law. She focuses, big time. Serious focusing. So much so that when Husband had his 30-minute conversation about lightbulbs with her the other day, My son said to me, "Please don't do that to me, Mom."

But we all focus. Even our family focus arbiter, my brother-in-law Steve, focuses (even though he'd probably deny this). We all have our things that drive us crazy. My mother-in-law's focus on lightbulbs and whatever she decides to focus on next week when she's done focusing on lightbulbs may help her to think about something other than the very serious medical issues she has to deal with. So she will continue to focus, we will continue to deal with it, and I'll keep telling myself jokes.

Q: How many T.V. evangelists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: One. But for the message of hope to continue to go forth, send in your donation today.

These are the jokes, folks.


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