I’ve been telling this joke a lot recently so I thought I’d share it here.
George the farmer has got to that time of year when his fields need ploughing. It’s the ideal time, and he knows the weather forecasts indicate that he’d be smart not to leave it another week.
Trouble is George’s tractor is up the spout and won’t be back from repairs until the end of the month. George decides to try and borrow the tractor of his neighbour across the fields. After all, the neighbour has just done all his ploughing and probably won’t be using it.
So George sets off across the fields to talk to his neigbour. He starts out thinking, “I’m sure it will be fine, he’ll be happy to lend it to me”
After a few strides, it occurs to him “Of course, I’ll offer to pay for the fuel…”
A few strides more and he thinks, “I’m sure it will be ok.. though some poeple can be a bit funny about lending things”
A few strides more…”Hmmm, I haven’t talked to him much lately… I hope he’s not upset with me…”
Later… “Well, he did give me that funny look in the village store last month… I don’t know what that was about”
Later… “Oh, I hope he’s not going to give me a hard time about this… I’m only asking, after all”
You get the picture, as he strides along, he runs over all the pitfalls that could await him.
Anyway, eventually George reaches his neighbour’s farmhouse and taps a little awkwardly at the door.
As soon as his neighbour opens the door, Georges says to him, “You can keep your blasted tractor you miserable git. I never wanted it in the first place!!”
I was orignially told this joke by a gestalt psychotherapist to highlight the value of separating our fantasies about the future from the observable facts of our experience. I rather think there’s a moral in it for most of us.