Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

January 13, 2013

VASICEK: A bumbling, fumbling, absent-minded new year

Let’s all embrace our incompetence and laugh

By Ed Vasicek
Tribune columnist

— Some people are embarrassed by their confused moments. I embrace them; they make for great sermon illustrations and are not bad fodder for Tribune articles, either. Perhaps I was overly influenced by the 1960s TV show, “F Troop.”

The other Sunday morning, I was salting the church parking lot at about 6:30 a.m. The thermometer read 34 degrees, so I thought to myself, “by the time church is ended, the ice will be all gone. If it is 34 this early, it will be even warmer later on.”

Of course part of my problem is that I am originally from the Chicago area. Having grown up there, we learned not to bother consulting the weather forecasters. With Lake Michigan as a constant wild card, the forecasters often missed the mark. Not so here in central Indiana, but I have never made the transition. Here, it is useful to check the forecast.

After church was over, I did not bother to notice the temperature had taken a downward turn. I hurried to our house next door and, boom! I crashed down, oblivious to the ice near our home. Did my knee hit the pavement? Ouch!

But I am not alone; consider my cousin, a school teacher. She would frequently bang into things, drop things, trip, etc. One of her co-workers suggested she see a doctor. Her mom said, “There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re just a klutz.”

My cousin followed her friend’s advice and consulted her doctor. My cousin explained her situation, and the difference of opinion between her friend and her mother. The physician ordered a series of tests and met with her two weeks later.

“Well,” he said, “we ran the tests and your mother is right. You’re just a klutz.”

But confused or incompetent people are all around us. According to Yahoo’s Sideshow: “Somebody took a wrong turn at the deep fryer. A pair of crooks in Australia found themselves in an unusual spot when they attempted to tunnel into a jewelry store but ended up in a KFC restaurant on New Year’s Eve.

“The mishap took place near Brisbane, Australia. Fortunately nobody was hurt. When they saw where they were, the two alleged thieves, Peter Welsh and Dwayne Doolan, decided to hold up the customers. They left with about $2,700. But they didn’t escape for long. Welsh and Doolan were arrested a short time later.”

Even those down under in “the land down under” can be confused.

Technology evidences the less-than-perfect humanity behind it. Think about phone calls. Thirty years ago (if you are over 30), when someone called you on the phone, the line was clear and you could hear every word they said. Their voice did not cut in and out; we would not have settled for such rise and fall. But now, because of cellphones, we often need to ask others to repeat their words, maybe even move near a window for better reception.

Or take computers. I recently upgraded to a Windows 8 operating system. I am not too happy about Windows 8 – I am hoping it will grow on me. My old Word programs will not operate with this system, even though they worked well on Windows 7. My favorite browsers (Chrome and Firefox) keep crashing. Only Internet Explorer seems to work decently. In short, Windows 8 is a klutzy program, IMO. It may shine when they develop enough patches, but until then ...

The world is filled with bumbling people who make ridiculous mistakes. I think the difference between us confused persons and the rest of humanity is that we remember our blunders while others forget theirs.

Even animals are confused blunderers. Squirrels bury their nuts in the fall, but forget where they buried them (thus helping to plant trees). All you have to do is watch “America’s Funniest Videos”, and you realize that both men and beast are sometimes bumbling, fumbling, absent-minded and klutzy.

So join the honest crowd: embrace your incompetence and laugh, don’t deny and don’t cry!

Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at edvasicek@att.net.