When things go poorly for people, they are often told that, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”
This is stupid.
First, we must address that lemons are not garbage but rather a perfectly adequate, salable commodity. If life has given you lemons, life has given you a modest but useful beginning. For the truly down on their luck, advice should be given on how to best utilize a collection of decaying rutabagas or an assemblage of their neighbors’ clipped toenails. I do not need advice on how to make something worthwhile from a lemon but if someone could direct me towards a valuable utilization of the styrofoam trays that hold ground turkey, well, I’m all ears.
Second, we must address that lemons alone are not sufficient to make lemonade, the desired outcome in this foolhardy proverb. If life has given you lemons and you would like to make lemonade, you had best locate some sugar and water quickly. And, at that point, how bad could things really be for you? Sugar is so delicious that people must be constantly reminded not to eat so much of it that it kills us. Water is arguably the most important substance on earth. If you have water, sugar and lemons, you could reasonably throw away the sugar and lemons and be just fine.
Last, we must address that not every instance of suffering can be transmuted into productivity through the power of detached positive thinking. Sometimes things are simply bad and will continue to be bad for a time, until the tides of change sweep over them and leave something more pleasant in their wake. If life has given you lemons (or something reasonably worse), you may need to endure it for a spell. That strength of willpower, the endurance of life’s challenges, is a valuable skill for any person. You are not less of a person for failing to make a tart, sugary drink that coats your teeth in a gritty film out of the hardships of your life.
On a related note, my writing time this week has been beset by migraines and a crying, sleeplessly ill child. I will attempt to write about songs that make me happy and books that make me think next week. In the interim, this is as close to lemonade as I am going to get.