Spinning Your Wheel CrankaTsuris is one form of CrankaTsuris that everybody experiences at one time or another. You start by setting the wheel in motion. After a while, you notice that the wheel is spinning faster and faster. However, you are not moving at all. You have convinced yourself that you are stuck in the mud. Typically, this is a moment when you feel that you are all alone. This is rather convenient because you also have the feeling that you want to scream. If you are not alone, there is someone else in the car stepping on the gas pedal. You desperately push and push to get the car out of the mud, and your only success is now having yourself covered in the mud that had been flying at you for the last ten minutes. The wheel is still spinning, but the wheel is now even buried further in the mud than before.
Spinning Your Wheel CrankaTsuris is an important CrankaTsuris to examine because this particular feeling can be one of hopelessness. However, if we look at this particular CrankaTsuris closely, sometimes we can actually see that there is much more hope than there is hopelessness when we are afflicted with this particular form of CrankaTsuris.
This lesson can be seen in the classic movie “The Wizard of Oz.” Or, at least the way I retell the story of The Wizard of Oz. Because we all know the original story, my version starts a bit after Dorothy and the Gang’s first trip to see the Wizard. The Scarecrow wanted a brain. The Tin Man wanted a heart. The Cowardly Lion wanted courage. And, of course, Dorothy just wanted to go home to Kansas.
Believe it or not, the Wizard did not give them a single thing that they had asked for, but oddly enough, just sent them out to the Wicked Witch’s castle to bring back the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West. Why did the Wizard need a broom? I do not have a clue. He probably could have just sent one of his assistants to the hardware store for a brand new broom. The Wizard also requested a bucket of the Wicked Witch’s World Famous Wicked Wings. This, of course, was not an easy lift since we know that Dorothy had previously killed the Wicked Witch’s sister in what was called a freakish accident. Even if Dorothy was innocent, the Wicked Witch was still awfully wicked. Surely, the Wicked Witch would want some pay-back revenge for her equally wicked sister.
Of course, as expected, Dorothy got abducted by the Wicked Witch. The Wicked Witch gleefully cackled taunts at poor Dorothy sitting in the castle dungeon, “You are going to die!!” Fortunately, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion, by showing smarts, a lot of heart, and tremendous bravery, successfully snuck into the heavily guarded castle, and freed Dorothy from a certain death. Unbelievably, they melted the Wicked Witch with a bucket of water. The Wicked Witch quickly disintegrated and was no more. The guards, were overjoyed, and gave Dorothy the Wicked Witch’s broom. One guard then ran into the kitchen, and whipped up a fresh batch of the Wicked Witch’s Wicked Wings. Another grateful guard presented them with a box of those delicious Munchkin Land Muffins. One little secret here to tell you. They happen to be made with real Munchkins! The Wicked Witch was not called the Wicked Witch for nothing.
Everybody in the castle were then so happy and overjoyed by the death of the Wicked Witch, they all bursted into song. We all know that they were overjoyed and happy simply by hearing the first two words of the song. “Ding Dong!” I can tell you that whenever I have had a moment in my life when I was so overjoyed, the first words that always popped in my head was “Ding Dong!”. Perhaps, you have had that exact same experience.
After finishing singing the Ding Dong song, Dorothy and her friends eagerly went quickly back to see the great Wizard of Oz. With the broom, the bucket of the Wicked Witch’s Wicked Wings, and the Munchkin Land Muffins, surely now the Scarecrow was going to get a brain, the Tin Man was going to get a heart, the Cowardly Lion was going to receive courage, and most importantly, Dorothy was going back home to Kansas to be with Auntie Em.
After knocking on the Palace Door, the guard let everyone in. The guard then instructed them to all wait in a room while he brought to the Wizard the broom, the bucket of the Wicked Witch’s Wicked Wings, and the box of Munchkin Land Muffins. After a few hours pass, they are led into the Grand Hall where the Wizard was sitting.
The Wizard then began to speak. “These Wicked Wings are the best. I want you all to go back to the Castle and get me the recipe. Just think! If I get a hold of the recipe for these Wicked Wings, I can open up Wicked Witch’s Wicked Wing shops all throughout Emerald City. I won’t have to do this dumb Wizard gig anymore. I’ll tell you what. You get me the recipe, and you will all get a ten percent cut in the profits. What do you say?”
The Scarecrow folded his arms. “I say no way!! We had a deal! We brought you what you asked for, and I want a brain.”
Tin Man shouted “I want a heart!”
The Cowardly Lion stuck his head in. ” I want some courage!”
And Dorothy, holding her dog Toto said; “And, I just want to go home!
The Scarecrow then walked up to the Wizard and started to speak. “I know exactly the kind of brain I want too. Last week, I saw this movie. I think it was called “Young Frankenstein.” They put in this big man’s head a “More-On” brain. That is what I want! A More-On brain.”
Tin Man turned to Scarecrow. “I saw the movie too. I think that it really was a Moron brain that they ended up putting in the monster’s head. You definitely do not want that.”
“Thank you, Tin Man”, Scarecrow replied. “Okay. Wizard, give me one of your Less-On brains!”
The Wizard shook his head. “Unfortunately, I do not have any brains handy right now. There is a ten year waiting list even for a Moron brain. However, I do have something for you. Where I come from, there are people no less brainless than you are. However, they get their parents to pay huge sums of money to go to a place called University. There, for four years, they barely learn a thing, but they get to party, drink lots of alcohol, and take all sorts of drugs. When they finally get out, they get this piece of paper called a diploma. So, it now gives me the distinct honor and pleasure to present to you, Scarecrow, with a diploma from Emerald City Technical College.”
Scarecrow looked at his diploma. “It says “Bachelors of Science: Straw Maintenance”. Hey! This is not our deal. You are spinning my wheel!”
The Tin Man then turned and said, “What about me? I want my heart. Surely, there can’t be a waiting period for a heart transplant!”
“Let me think.” said the Wizard. “Can I offer you some Wicked Wings while I figure out what to do?”
“No. Thank you.”, said the Tim Man “To be honest with you, Wizard, the Wicked Wings give me a bit of heartburn.”
The Wizard then waved his hand. “No problem. Now, I know what I can do. Check out this old-fashioned alarm clock. Shaped and colored just like a heart no less! Stick it in that tin can of a body of yours, and it will sound just like the real thing!”
“Are you kidding me?” said the Tin Man in disbelief. “Look at my wrist? I am wearing an Apple Watch!! I did not risk my life to get a stupid cheap plastic two dollar alarm clock! This is not our deal! You are spinning my wheel!”
Cowardly Lion then turned to the Wizard. “What about me? I need to get courage, and I know exactly what I need to get it! My three older brothers always tell me the same thing. They say that I need to grow a pair!”
The Wizard looked puzzled. “A pair of what? You want me to grow you a pear tree?”
The Cowardly Lion replied. “No. Not a pear tree. I do not know exactly what they are, but my brothers tell me that they are called “cajones”.”
The Wizard again waved his hand dismissively. “I have never heard of them. But, this is what I can do. For your bravery and skill in taking care of the Wicked Witch, I proudly present you with the Metal of Courage.”
The Cowardly Lion looked at his metal. “I can see the word “Courage” on the front. I can’t make out what it says in the back.”
The Scarecrow took the metal and read aloud. “It says “There are no losers in life. Everyone is a winner! You are the last winner!” You are the last winner? I do not think that is much of a compliment.”
The Cowardly Lion was angry. “I do not like this. This is not our deal. You are spinning my wheel!”
Dorothy looked down. “I guess this means that you can’t help me either.” said Dorothy.
The Wizard again waived his arm. “Absolutely false. For you, I plan to take you home personally in my hot air balloon that brought me here thirty years ago. Of course, I haven’t flown it in thirty years, but I am sure that it is like riding a bike!”
Tin Man looked sternly at Dorothy. “He is spinning your wheel too!”
“That is right!” added the Scarecrow. “Don’t you remember what Auntie Em use to tell you. Never take a hot air balloon ride with strangers. It can be around the world in eighty days with this lunatic! A fourteen year old girl in a hot air balloon with a strange old man does not sit right with me! And, it does not even have a pot to piss in!”
The Tin Man looked at his watch. “Perhaps, I can use my Apple Watch to just order you an Uber to get back home. Of course, that is, if I ever can get internet here!”
Then suddenly out of nowhere, the Cowardly Lion leaped towards the Wizard. With one big bite, he swallowed the Wizard whole. The Wizard was no more.
The Scarecrow turned to the Lion. “That was amazing! And look at Lion! Lion, you just grew a pair!!”
Everyone joyfully yelled, “Cajones!!”
The Lion then beamed proudly; “Ain’t it the truth! Ain’t it the truth!
With the brave lion and his cajones now by their side, the Scarecrow was then able to get a brain. The Tin Man got his heart. Dorothy got limousine service back to Kansas. They all lived happily ever after.
Of course, the point of the story is that they had thought they needed to see the Wizard to get what they already had. The Wizard was more of a distraction, and caused all of them to think that they were just spinning their wheel.
This brings me to an important story that a Rabbi shared with my class when I was a boy. The Rabbi said he had asked another class the question “what is the most important thing for a human being to experience in life?”.
One boy quickly answered “pleasure!”
Everyone looked at the boy as if he was going to get in trouble with the Rabbi. However, the Rabbi told everyone that the little boy’s answer was actually the correct one. The Rabbi then asked “what is the opposite of pleasure?”
The same little boy responded quickly. “Pain!” he said.
The Rabbi nodded his head. This was incorrect. The Rabbi said that the correct answer to this question was “comfort.” Everybody looked puzzled by this answer.
Pleasure, he explained, is sometimes realized after much hard work, sacrifice, and even pain. Think of the championship basketball team, the person that climbs Mount Everest, or the person who just finished running their first marathon. Or, just think of the most painful thing there is. Giving birth. “Comfort,” however, is for the person who just never got out of bed. And, of course, if everyone was comfortable, nobody would left because of the giving birth problem.
“Ding Dong!” The alarm rings. It is now time to get up.
And with this thought in mind, perhaps we have found a way to deal with Spinning Your Wheel CrankaTsuris.