One summer I took a trip to my in-laws’ house in Needles, California.
If you’ve never heard of Needles, don’t worry. You’re not the only one.
It gets unbearably hot there in the summertime, sometimes up to 124 degrees Fahrenheit. So naturally, not a lot of people live there.
However, it sits right on the Colorado river, so as long as you’re in the water, you’ll feel cool enough to survive the heat.
Basically what you do is you plant your chair in the water, sit there and drink beer all day.
Not a bad way to spend a weekend.
On Sunday afternoon a dust devil rippled through the beach and knocked all of our stuff over. If you don’t know what a dust devil is, it’s basically a tiny tornado. If a tornado is a full born baby, a dust devil is an embryo that hasn’t even become a fetus yet.
Yes, that’s my analogy, and I’m sticking to it.
Anyway, because of this dust devil, one of our floaties got thrown into the Colorado, so I had to swim out and grab it. Just as I was about to get close enough, I did one stroke too many and my wedding ring flew off my hand and sank to the bottom of the Colorado.
I yelled a particularly aggressive curse word.
I looked at my wife who stood on the beach 50 feet away. She looked at me puzzled and yelled, “what?!?”
I held up my left hand, obviously too far away for her to see my fingers, but the meaning was clear.
“Oh no…” she mouthed.
“Yeah….” I replied and dove straight down into the river, frantically searching for the ring.
I was close enough to the bank so that it wasn’t super deep, but the sandy rocks made the water murky. It was impossible to see anything down there.
Even with help from a friend we were out of luck. It was simply impossible to make out anything underneath the surface.
When I came back to the beach my wife reassured me that it was ok. My father-in-law even told me,
Hey…this is my second wedding-ring too!
Seems like living on the river has its symbolic casualties.
However, I was determined to find it. I just needed the right tool to see better. Having in-laws that live by the river also means that you have access to an arsenal of river toys.
In this case, I needed some snorkeling gear.
I ran to the house, dug up an old snorkeling mask from the 1970s that looked more like something you would wear to escape a burning building than see the bottom of the ocean.
Then I dove back into the river and made my way to the last place I was before losing the ring. I had mentally marked this location in my head because I was not leaving the river without it.
I threw the mask on, put the snorkel in my mouth and started hunting.
The bottom of the river was clear to me through the mask, and after a few moments, I saw something glitter.
Luckily, the sunny rays made their way deep enough so that the glint of the silver ring was easy to catch on top of the muddy rocks around it.
I wasted no time, dove straight down and grabbed it.
Colorado River: 0.
I returned to the beach triumphant, to the wide-eyed disbelief of everyone, my wife included! Nobody believed I would find the ring again. To be honest, I didn’t think I would either.
But I had to try.
And all I needed was the right tool.
Whatever it is you do, there’s usually a way to make your work more efficient.
If you can find software to automate your menial tasks for you, you’ve freed up your time to focus on the creative work that really matters.
Conversely, if you’re bogged down with too much creative work, hiring somebody to assist you with your creations helps you double your output, resulting in increased efficiency and a larger body of work throughout the course of your career.
What tools and resources do you have at your disposal that make you more productive?
I Dropped My &$##”% Wedding Ring Into the Colorado River… was originally published in Hacker Noon on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.