As with the other sayings I’ve talked about recently, I don’t know how many times I have heard my mom use this saying, talking about something askew. “No, no – stand it up straighter, it’s leaning toward Fisher’s.” All of my friends have always said my family is full of old sayings, so I just chalked it up to a famous something called Fisher’s somewhere at some time in history, and assumed EVERYBODY knew this old saying. I never questioned it whatsoever. As a kid, it didn’t even occur to me to question the saying – I figured out the meaning from the context pretty easily and straightened up whatever was crooked. Wherever Fisher’s was, we didn’t want to be leaning that way, at least according to my parents.
The not asking… the assumption… the “this is the way we’ve always done it.” Ring a bell? How often do we do that – for ourselves, personally and professionally?
It reminds me of my friend Leigh’s story about her mom teaching her how to cook a ham. First, you cut it in half, and then you season it and bake it at the proper temperature, for the designated amount of time. She asked her mom why you cut the ham in half first, just trying to understand the process, and her mom said, “That’s how your grandmother taught me.”
Eventually she asked her grandmother the same question, thinking she was about to unlock a family secret for the ages. The answer: her grandmother’s original oven as a newlywed was apartment sized, and thus too small to handle a large whole ham for their first holiday at their new place. Her very practical remedy was to cut it in half so it wasn’t quite so tall and would then fit. Genius – for her situation.
But now, three generations have cut the ham in half, not because it makes a better ham, but because one ham, 60+ years ago, was too big for the oven. Wait – what?
I started thinking about that. What am I doing in my life – at work, at home – that may not make sense anymore, but I do it because that’s what I’ve always done and how I’ve always done it? Are you thinking the same thing?
What do I need to let go of in order to grow and learn new ways of doing even bigger & better things? That’s where I find myself. Not always easy, to be sure. Doing the things we’ve done well for a long time gives us a measure of comfort… we’re rock star fishies in that pond. But if I’m so busy doing all of that, how do I get to bigger & better things? I’ll hand off the comfortable for bigger and better any day… bring on the learning curve.
So back to the leaning and the Fisher’s. You know where I’m headed with this, don’t you? What has become just another one of those sayings in my family, and I assumed in everyone else’s… isn’t really an old saying at all. The supermarket in the next block from my grandparents’ home in Geneva, Ohio? Yep, Fisher’s.
So the first picture that was tilted? An absolutely accurate description of how to right it. Nailed it. For the rest of us, all these years later, we may need to think differently. Because leaning toward Kroger isn’t a thing yet.