We really should have seen it coming. The bottom two shelves of the bookcase for textbooks house the science texts, most of them extremely heavy tomes. Over the past two semesters, the upper shelf was beginning to bow from the weight. We even mentioned it several times. One library staff member would occasionally say, “That shelf is going to break under the weight of all those books.” But we didn’t know what else to do with them and didn’t think we had the time to look for other solutions. Besides, the bowing didn’t seem to be getting any worse. Maybe we could do on indefinitely with one misshapen shelf that still did the work.
Then it happened during finals week. Fittingly, it was the Anatomy and Physiology text that broke the shelf’s back. There was a crack and then all the books tumbled onto the floor. We put them on a cart and are now in the process of looking for a new bookcase.
It was a good life lesson. We simply can’t go on ignoring the stresses and pressures that are put upon us. We may think that we are doing a good job of handling them all; after all, we’re just suffering from the occasional headache or sleepless night. So we ignore the signs.
But unless we do something, we will pay the price for the all the pressure we allow to be put on ourselves. And make no mistake. We do have some say-so in how much we take on. So don’t ignore the signs. Don’t be like our poor bookcase–broken down and waiting for maintenance to take it to the surplus room.