Owning up to one’s miscues doesn’t always soften the blow

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What does a tricycle, garbage can and a plumber’s truck all have in common? The items have all been victims of my carelessness when backing a car out of our garage.
Actually, I forgot those little incidents until recently. That’s when the betterhalf – who seemingly never forgets my little miscues – repeated each of them in detail just after I told her I had a little incident exiting her car from the garage.  I put my misdeed bluntly to her. “I backed over your bike with your car when coming out of the garage,” I said.
I knew immediately I must make a confession of my sin. I had always told our young boys to tell us their problem right after it happens because the longer you linger, it will only get tougher to reveal. But, in all honesty, I also realized I had a few minutes to spare before making my confession because the betterhalf was momentarily absent from our household while running a few errands. During her absence I rushed out to the local hardware store hoping to find a replacement tire rim and have the bike looking good as new before the betterhalf would return. Unfortunately, I found that the repair parts had to be special ordered. My sidestep tactic failed and I was doomed to go face-to-face and reveal the mishap.
It wasn’t easy being upfront about my most recent action. I tried to rationalize to her that she shouldn’t have parked her bike behind the car. I explained the backup warning signals failed to function. It wouldn’t have happened if she had left my car at home and taken her own car to run errands. And my last excuse really fell flat when I pointed out I didn’t repeat her neat trick of several years ago when she backed her vehicle into my car that was parked behind her auto.
Of course, she countered all my points by telling me my backing mishap list was much longer than her’s, even though her list might have been pricier. Then she came with the real kicker which I listened to and remained silent. The betterhalf just simply smiled and bluntly stated, “You know that bike has been parked behind that car for the past several years and you’ve managed not to back over it. So now give me a real excuse!”
Shortly after her last comment I knew I had lost the debate and headed out to have a glass of tea with the coffee group. While sipping my tea a guy asked me, “How’s your day going?” I mumbled, “You really don’t want to know.”
As I get older I catch myself glancing at the obituary page in the newspapers. Most obits use somewhat of a formal format but, after reading the list of survivors, this particular obit then closed with the following line: “Mr. ______ was preceded in death by billions of other people.”
RL Furse  is publisher emeritus of the News-Register

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