Last Thursday afternoon Annalyn spilled my cup of water on my laptop keyboard. If you’ve been paying attention, this story may sound familiar. Because this is the second time this has happened in four months.

This time, it happened to my new (to me) laptop. And unlike last time, when the unexpected shower merely messed up my keyboard, the water did a bit more damage this time.

“More damage” as in, CANNOT DETECT HARD DRIVE.

To say that I panicked would be a slight understatement. To say that I decided – in the heat of the moment where I realized what an incredible stupid mistake I’d made (leaving the water next to the computer, that is) – to try “the rice trick” would be unfortunate, but true.

What is the rice trick? See, after my old computer was doused, several people asked why I didn’t try dumping rice on it. After all, that works for wet cell phones. Clearly, I am a rock during a crisis, because within seconds of this latest round of water splashing onto my pretty, new computer, I remembered this advice. And grabbed a large Tupperware container, an almost-full bag of rice, a towel and a screwdriver.

Surprise! It turns out that dumping rice onto a wet keyboard IS STUPID.

After picking out Every Single Grain of rice I could find stuck in my keyboard – and, yes, there were a LOT – I turned the laptop back on. That’s when it gave me a blue screen and began beeping in a very angry tone. And then it magically typed out those terrible words: CANNOT DETECT HARD DRIVE.

Now, I can’t blame my [temporarily] undetectable hard drive on the rice. The water was solely to blame for that. But, thankfully, water dries. [And by “thankfully,” I mean that when I turned on my computer on and it worked yesterday, I was practically turning back flips and thanking God for healing my computer. Yes, I was.]

You know what doesn’t evaporate if you just turn off the computer for three and a half days? RICE.

Despite taking a tiny screwdriver to my keyboard and picking up the whole darned thing and shaking it like a Polaroid picture (c’mon, shake it), several tiny grains of rice lodged themselves under my keys, causing havoc and general inconvenience, even after my hard drive reappeared.

Who’d have thought that a single, tiny grain of rice could cause so much trouble?

My keyboard is finally back to normal. Almost. A few pieces of pieces of rice (that’s right – even a fraction of a grain of rice can mess with my productivity and sanity) are still hiding under my keys. I had to completely dismantle the “y” key and put it back together with tweezers. It was like playing Operation. And my backspace key, in an ironic – or, at least, irritating – move, is pretty much trashed.

This rice ordeal is making me think. First of all, it’s making me reconsider my choice of carb-y side dishes. (Because, seriously, if I never see another grain of rice . . .) But more importantly, it’s making me wonder how many grains of rice I have in my life.

The rice…
…was a suggestion from a well-meaning friend.
…made sense. It seemed so logical.
…worked perfectly in other situations.
…was supposed to make a terrible situation better.
…ended up making my life even more difficult.

When I look at it that way, I don’t need tweezers or a tiny screwdriver to discover a few other grains of rice in my life.

My “rice” just might be…
…the parenting book that promised to cure the Terrible Threes – and my short fuse.
…the job change that looked perfect on paper.
…the budgeting method that all my friends raved about.
…the decked-out organizational binder made for getting every part of my life in order.

Sometimes, the very thing that’s supposed to solve a problem ends up creating three more. Or just flat-out doesn’t work, no matter how many people recommended it. Sometimes the one-size-fits-all solution simply doesn’t fit your life or your family or you.

Do you have any grains of rice in your life?

And speaking of the difference a grain of rice can make, you know about FreeRice.com, right? FreeRice is a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food Program. For each answer you get right, they donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. It’s ridiculously addictive and for a great cause. They’ve donated more than 87 billion grains since 2007!

Images by IRRI Images and babbagecabbage.

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