Thursday, August 4, 2011



I laughed, as I found myself in total agreement. I am, if there must be only one word to summarize and crystallize the thing that is most me, "inept".

I was in California, with Jo, for our annual visit with very old and dear friends. I had just composed a short post about my experience in this alternate universe. Word of my writing "prowess" had circulated, among those assembled at that evening's party. At one table, my friend was describing my virtues as a parent, an athlete, a writer, and a person of compassion. "Yet", he said, "if I had only one word to describe him...". He called me over from the other side of the room to verify his assessment.

By way of infinitesimally small sampling, yesterday Jo asked me to button a slightly damp shirt that had recently come out of the wash. After several minutes of frustration and elevated protests, the job was handed over to Richie. The day also included a moment where I found myself unable to sign out of gmail as I stared at a screen without answers.

For those who love me, it is a continual exercise in head shaking. How can anyone, so apparently capable in one moment, be in the next, in one word, so (you know) ?

When making a bed becomes a point of pride, you know there is something seriously amiss.

When I was in college, my roommate and I lived in an apartment and cooked our own meals. That is to say he cooked, and I cleaned. Well, that was until he got so fed up with how badly I performed my assigned chore that he became both the cook and the cleaner. I became merely the eater.

Once, at my aunt's house, I was asked to remove a window air conditioner from a second story window and place it on the floor. The crash destroyed not only the air conditioner, but the entire heating system that sat below.

If I take a pull-cart to play a round of golf, I often find the clubs fallen on the ground as I am unable to secure the bag in its designated place.

I look at the world with a quizzical gaze wondering why something appears continually amiss.

My friend likes to say that I have trouble buttering my toast. I don't think it is an easy task getting that mass from knife to plate and then spreading it over a rough and uneven surface. It is an art I have not really mastered.

And so I laughed at my friend's description, even as those who knew me only a little seemed impressed by the magnitude of me, and by the fact, as I so often point out, of all my published writings.

As we were at a party celebrating the birthday of my 2 dear friends, I was certain there would be a bottle of champagne soon opened. The task of taking the cork out of what seemed to me its permanent and rightful position, was not something I would be assigned. Not unless the room was empty of others, my body was covered in armor, and my eyes shielded with impenetrable lenses.

My friend told me that he would trust me with his life, just not with making him a hamburger on the barbecue. While in many important ways, my friend believes I have limitless possibilities to succeed, I know that in others there are only boundless opportunities to fail.


radleris said...

LOL, Bob. I must confess to a different but lifelong affliction of comparable durability and strength. My late mother said to me, inspired by the fact that I was once again late to some gathering, that my name should really be "Bob (I'm running a little late) Adler." My wife's response when I say somethng like, "I'll be there in 5 minutes," is "Is that real time or Adler time?" The best man at our wedding once told me that when inviting me to something that he told everyone else started at 7, he told me it started at 6 -- hoping I'd be there by about 7. So, like you, if and when I am actually early for something, it feels like a personal triumph. And I have learned to focus on such timeliness strategically -- so that I no longer EVER make my family run through the airport to catch a plane. I am now the nudge making sure that we can have a less stressed beginning to our travels.

Robert said...

Were that my solution was so easily attainable. I feel I am beyond hope and fear that a part of my brain has long since shut down. I am glad that you seem to have your tardiness under control, but my ineptness unfortunately appears incurable.