I can’t dunk! (and other life failures)…..

As a new year begins, one tends to reflect more on past experiences or lack thereof. This year I finally decided to make a reverse bucket list. That is, a list of things I always wanted to do, but realize will never be accomplished before I kick that roughly cylindrical vessel with an opening at the top. Below you will find an offering, in no particular order of importance, of those little failures in my life. They didn’t affect the quality of my otherwise blessed existence in the least, but nonetheless left a bit of a nagging hole in my psyche. And I’m fresh out of psyche patch.

I can’t dunk. I’m nearly six feet, five inches tall. At least I used to be before gravity had its way with me. I could never even come close to dunking a basketball. I just can’t jump. The rest of my game was pretty much average. I would get picked for teams because I was tall. When the game began the irony quickly became apparent that in spite of my height, I was still in over my head. In fact, they even made a movie about me. You may have seen it. Woody Harrelson played me. Except it had a happy ending.

I have no gift whatsoever when it comes to woodworking or metalworking. My father was the same so I was never exposed to it. If you ask me to nail two pieces of wood together you’d better provide a lot of extra wood and many, many extra nails. My next door neighbor is a supreme artisan in this regard. He just finished single-handedly making and installing a Murphy bed in one of his rooms. I tell him between his talent and mine we are a couple of average craftsmen. Isn’t that how the math works?

I played golf for well over 50 years. Never had a hole-in-one. OK, I did have one on an eighty yard hole at a short executive course once. But never on a regular golf course. I’ve had a few eagles (also two under par like a hole-in-one), including a 220 second hole-out on a par four. But nobody ever asks about your eagles. Holes-in-one are the Holy Grail of golf. My son has had three. My step-father once lived on a country club course in Florida. The course had a par three in which the green was situated very close to the backyard of his home. One day while we were playing the course, he scored a hole-in-one on it. I told him he should submit it to the Guinness Book of Records for “world’s closest hole-in-one to where you actually live.” He didn’t and there went my one chance to be associated with golf history.

I can’t sing. I’d love it if I could. I even took voice lessons a couple of years ago. I wasn’t invited to the recital. I’m pretty sure the instructor was doing me a favor. Not to mention saving her reputation. I’m not tone-deaf. I can  carry a tune, but unless you are one of those who thinks fingernails raking across a blackboard is a pleasant sound, you’d probably not want to hear me sing. When my wife goes to visit the grandkids without me, I crank up the karaoke app and let loose. I generally don’t see the dogs again until a couple of hours after I’m done.

I’m not very mechanically minded. If I try to fix a machine, it’s going to take days and there will be parts left over. I will have busted knuckles, make a mess of the entire room, and owe a fortune to the swear jar. Then one time I remembered something my grandfather once told me. Fixing things mechanical is generally all in the wrists. So now I just dial a service repairman. I’ve found I can do this handily with either wrist. I use the money I would have had to put in the swear jar to pay the repairman. It’s a win-win.

Gardening. I love plants and flowers. But you are reading the writings of the quintessential black thumb. My wife is the opposite. She has a gentle, loving way with nature and the plants respond to her. I’m forbidden to walk by any newly planted bulbs or flowers for fear of polluting them with my negative botanical energy. Heck, even the dogs get to go out and garden with her, but not me. I used to help by doing the grunt work. Digging, mowing, trimming, pruning, but I’ve finally had to hire that out. Since I’ve done that, I’ve been getting Christmas cards signed “your yard.” I think my wife is sending them, but I can’t prove it.

Step away from the plants Al, and no one will get hurt….

Do you have anything you’d like to add to this reverse bucket list? Feel free. And Happy New Year!



10 thoughts on “I can’t dunk! (and other life failures)…..

  1. Haha.. great post and list! I’m
    inspired to make one too but that’ll be way after 5 cups of tea and a hard push out of bed. Item # 1… I’m really bad at getting up in the morning 🤔

  2. Ha! Your comparison to fingernails raking still gives me the shivers.

    I have a list too, which starts with grace. You may have seen them in the arts. There are always three of them. I got the goose egg. Zero grace. I’m the one who can trip on a linoleum floor. Did it many times in high school

  3. Well I’m inclined to ask what CAN you do, but that’s probably being a bit insensitive so forget it. And, while we’re on the subject, I am not sports inclined at all. I can ski but that’s about it. I hate team sports because I’m not aggressive and don’t like things, like balls, rackets, and body parts, that fly around or at me. I am marginally good at shuffle board and billiards, but those are not technically sports are they?

    Now, I can sing, and pretty well if I might say so myself. I can play the piano and I can act. Dancing, however, is another thing entirely. I think I can dance. I love tap dancing and I’m better than some people but not nearly as good as I think I am in my mind. Much like you and the karaoke I guess it’s something I enjoy doing more than people enjoy watching.

    So, my reverse list would be something like this: Being invited to perform on Dancing With the Stars or participating in ANY team sport. The world will just have to carry on without my involvement.

    Thanks for sharing your list of failures. It makes the rest of feel like there is hope yet. (You know I’m being sarcastic right?)

    Happy new year my very tall friend. Find what works for you and keep doing that.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • So tell me more about your billiards skills. Are you talking about true billiards or regular pocket pool. I was quite a true billiards player in college. There was a local pool hall in the small town where the college was located. It was called Clare’s Emporium. Clare Nutt was the proprietor. He looked exactly like you would expect. Bald, paunchy and with a big slobbery cigar sticking out of his mouth. We used to call the place “The Academy of Spherical Arts.” We always thought that sounded more scholarly. Anyway, I paid for more than a few expenses with my four-ball pocketless billiards expertise.

      As for what I can do., the list is short. Fortunately, my Patricia is just happy for me serving as a trophy husband…..he,he,he.

  4. I got a hole in one on a mini golf course once and still feel exhilarated. I can’t sing either and was told by a professional dance teacher, “you have no rhythm and no balance. Forget the lessons.”

  5. This made me chuckle Al, especially picturing you singing to the karaoke app! I can’t draw. Although creative in many other ways, the ability to draw is non existent! we sometimes play a game called Telestrations which is only made more hysterical by my inability to draw. We played it over Christmas when my brother, who is an artist, was home. The kids strategically placed me in the position of handing off my amazing renderings to my brother which of course turned to tears running down our face laughter.

    • I feel your pain, Lynn. I am in the same boat. And my mother was an accomplished artist and my dad was a draftsman. Go figure. I would love to sit in on one of your Telestration games some time!

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