The Next-to-the-Most-Recent Dumbest Thing I’ve Ever Done


I love my red Honda Civic. It’s not really a sports car, but it’s far sportier than anything I ever had before, and at least it’s not so low to the ground that I have any trouble climbing in and out of it.

But I’m mature enough to recognize that it’s just a thing. When I die, I won’t be riding that Honda to Heaven. I suspect the ride there will be more like being transported, a la Star Trek.

So in spite of the fact that I take the car to be washed periodically and have it waxed probably two or three times a year, I know it will eventually lose some of its luster. Dings are bound to happen. I’m not the kind of person to use two parking places to protect my car.

But I never expected that I would be responsible–in an innocent kind of way–for the slight damage my poor car has undergone.

I was driving to a body shop to pick up my wife and accidentally turned left one driveway too soon. The parking lot looked like the kind that would connect with the roadway I should’ve taken. No such cut-over in the lot, but the driveway led further back. I thought surely I could find a cut-over there.

Hmm. Great idea except for one little thing. Even as slowly as I was driving, I didn’t see a wire hanging low between two posts. Apparently to keep people from driving back there. No sign of a ribbon or marker to make it obvious.

But I heard it. When it ground against the front of my car–what ever happened to bumpers?–and snapped.

I’d not only broken the wire, but put some very conspicuous yellow dings low on the front end of my car. As upset as I was, I could only shake my head at what I’d failed to see and consequently done to my car.

It didn’t matter whether it was my fault or not. As far as my car would be concerned–if it had the ability to assess the situation–I’d done something really dumb.

As it was, the body shop where I was picking up my wife was able to do some minor surgery and a paint touch up for fifty-some dollars. (Fortunately, they’d been working on another car that used the exact same color paint. I didn’t ask whether it had also broken the wire next door.)

I can’t look at the front of my car without thinking about the dumb thing I’d done without even realizing it. Isn’t that typical of many of the mistakes we make in life? We fail to see the barriers, which may be small or inadequately marked, and plow right into them.

How about you? Have you ever experienced anything similar? Please leave a comment.


I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

“On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years on “As I Come Singing”–check it out HERE. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. View the list HERE.

Best regards,

How Honest Is “Too Honest”?


After sixty-seven years of life, I’m just as convinced as ever that honesty is the best policy. But how much is enough–and how much is too much?

Case in point. I have a good friend who’s about seven years younger than me. He is really deep into theological studies and even attended two different seminaries in his younger days—without getting a degree.

He has a pet belief that everything else revolves around—or so it seems. I won’t try to explain it; I barely understand it. I’m not sure I agree with it, but I don’t consider it a vital issue. Certainly not the kind of thing that determines whether a person is truly a Christian.

He thinks it’s important, though. In fact, he wrote a book about it. I read parts of the manuscript, but just couldn’t get into it. Speaking as an English major who overcame that fact to become a published author, I clearly understand why no publishers have taken an interest in it.

The number of potential readers is very small. Not that many people will find it an interesting subject, much less a vital one. My friend doesn’t have a platform from which to “sell books at the back of the room.”

Unfortunately, serious theologians would probably view this manuscript as the work of an amateur. While I think that would be unfair, I couldn’t blame them.

And the problem I’m most hesitant to bring up is this: No matter how smart my friend is—no matter how many years of thought and prayer he’s invested in this manuscript—the writing isn’t top notch. And publishers won’t settle for anything less.

I’m taking a chance that he’ll never see this post. I doubt that he follows my blog.

So what’s my honesty problem?

He told me a couple of days ago that he plans to self-publish his manuscript.

Don’t get me wrong. A number of really good writers are turning to self-publishing now. But I know from my own experience with self-publishing that it’s apt to be a good way to lose money. Unless an author can sell his books—unless he’s willing and able to actively market them—he’s likely to end up with a box or two (or more) of books that do little more than prove he wrote a book.

I think my friend deserves to see his book in print. He needs that sense of fulfillment. I’ve committed to buying a copy. I don’t know how many people follow his blog or read those numerous messages he forwards, but some of them will buy copies, too. Nonetheless, I don’t see how he can hope to recoup his investment.

I attended a class about the ins and outs of self-publishing–it’s often referred to now as indie-publishing–some years ago. One thing that’s stuck in my head ever since is this: Don’t spend money you can’t afford to lose.

And He can’t afford to lose it. Not the first penny.

I love my friend. Tell me, please. How can I help him without bursting his bubble?


I’ll be back again on Wednesday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to the top right of this page where it says, “Follow Blog via Email.”

By the way, “On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I use “As I Come Singing” to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Check here to see the list.

Because I’ve used up all of my songs, I revise and repost a previous post each Wednesday. If you’re interested, please check that blog out here.

Best regards,