Every day I make mistakes; usually, one or two. I expect that, but yesterday I made my quota, and they were doozies. You may think a person as old as I don’t make mistakes anymore. After all, by the time you get to be ninety and, if it is true that we learn from our mistakes, then I should be perfect. Right? Not so. I keep on making mistakes all the time, no matter how hard I try to be perfect.
I’ll give you an example.
First of all, I ran into a glass door head first. Luckily, it didn’t break the glass but left a round spot the shape and size of my sweaty forehead on the glass. Secondly, I let the water run into my drip hose to my tomatoes for two hours. It drained my cistern dry.
The bang on my forehead was bad enough. Especially for my dignity. Not that I have much dignity left these days. The Friends of Clear Lake had a Board Meeting. I was invited to offer my suggestions. It went well enough. I heard the members out. Fixing Clear Lake was a humungous job. Perhaps that was why not much had been done to get rid of the mercury or the stinky boat-clogging algae.
As time passes, as I grow older, and as life grows more complicated, I have learned to break my problems into smaller parts. I tackle each one when they are more my size. I made a suggestion to the board. It was one that any child might make. ‘You may be better off,’ I said, ‘And have a better chance of success if you break the problem into smaller parts.’ Instead of a mass attack against a stronger force (and lose all your fighters to no purpose), sometimes the only way to win is by picking off the enemy, one by one, until they give up.
The Friends of Clear Lake (and you and I) would still have an over-all battle plan and a starting point for action…and to get the needed money. The cards are in their favor. We all want a cleaner, better lake. If a problem does exist, they must tell us so in words a child can understand. As the Good Book says, ‘Unless you speak clearly, how can you be understood?’
The Board seemed to like that simple approach. When the meeting was finished, I felt I had contributed some worthwhile ideas. I felt good. As I was leaving the meeting to walk out through a sliding glass door, I forgot the door was closed. I ran into the glass door with my head.
The only thing I could say to salvage what little pride and my reputation with Steven, Pete, and the Board, after such a clumsy thing was to say, ‘You sure keep your glass clean,’ and add for want of anything else to say, ‘Next time you should invite guests that can see.‘ I recovered no worse for wear. I decided they must take me as I am.
The second mistake I made was that when I got home that night, I left running the water hose to my tomato plant drip system. I’m supposed to turn on a light bulb that hangs upon the door in my office where I write. While the bulb is burning, it reminds me to turn the water off when the tomatoes have had enough—this time, I forgot.
Not only did I forget to turn off the hose, but I also forgot to turn on the light to remind me to turn on the hose. Perhaps it is a sign of senility. Perhaps I should expect my daily quota of mistakes to grow. Before I reach a hundred and twenty, at the rate I’m going, I shall be making a dozen mistakes a day.
At any rate, next time I shall turn on the warming light BEFORE I start to water. Next time I shall straighten up my back as I walk out through a door to see where I am going and not bump into glass. So you see, there may be hope for me after all.
© 2017 PAL PUBLISHING/USED BY PERMISSION
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