Friday, August 10, 2007



Function: noun

Inflected Form: plural dummies

Etymology: 1dumb + -y

Date: 1598

1 a : one who is incapable of speaking b : one who is habitually silent c : one who is stupid

2 a : the exposed hand in bridge played by the declarer in addition to his own hand b : a bridge player whose hand is a dummy

3 : an imitation, copy, or likeness of something used as a substitute: as a : mannequin b : a stuffed figure or cylindrical bag used by football players for tackling and blocking practice c : a large puppet usually having movable features (as mouth and arms) manipulated by a ventriloquist d chiefly British : pacifier 2

4 : one seeming to act independently but in reality controlled by another

5 a : a mock-up of a proposed publication (as a book or magazine) b : a set of pages (as for a newspaper or magazine) with the position of text and artwork indicated for the printer

The other day Rhapsody, commenting on the background of a photograph of Alex that I included as part of my post entitled H-E-A-T, wrote:

Pardon me, but are those 'Dummie' books on your bookshelf (behind Alex in the one pic)? The black & yellow colors kind of remind me of them...?

Excellent observing, Rhapsody! Yes, those are books in the ___________ for Dummies series. I think I own five:

  • Organizing for Dummies
  • Marketing Kit for Dummies
  • Resumes for Dummies
  • Starting a Business Online for Dummies
  • Dating for Dummies

Except for the last one, that told me nothing I didn't already know, I find the series helpful: the books are well organized; the information is presented at various levels, simply and to the point; and one can make use of information in the book without having to read the whole thing.

No, I do not consider myself a dummy. I am not stupid: I have earned three university degrees, headed more organizations, associations, boards, etc. than I can count, and have numerous people come to me for advice, both in my professional roles and personally.

No, I have never considered myself a dummy—until yesterday.

Please allow me to explain. During this hot weather I have been parking my automobile in front of my house rather than in the garage in the back. The distance to the car is much shorter when parked in front of the house, therefore limiting the time I must walk in the rather oppressive heat we are now experiencing. Logical move, right?

Parking in front was simple and acceptable until Wednesday of this week, when the Louisville Metro Government pasted signs on telephone poles and trees informing us residents of Bayly Avenue that there would be street cleaning on Thursday and that we were to move our automobiles off the street unless we wanted to pay a fine. Years ago, when I first moved to Bayly, there was a day when I did not see similar signs, did not move my automobile off the street, and ended up paying a $25.00 fine for illegal parking. I do not ever want to pay such as fine again. So I drove my CR-V around to the ally and put it in my garage Logical action, right?

On Thursday I had an 8:00 a.m. appointment at the VA medical center. I was up early, fed and played with Alex, showered and dressed, and was ready to leave by 7:15 a.m. It was then that I remembered that the car was not parked in front of the house, but in the garage in back. Thus, I decided to exit the house through the back door rather than the front which would require me to hobble along with my cane like Dr. House for an extra 50 yards of so. Logical decision, right? WRONG!

A few weeks ago, when my grandkids came to do yard work at my house, my daughter-in-law fell through one of the steps leading down from my deck to the backyard. It was a lower step and she did not damage to herself. However, I was warned not to use those steps until they were all checked and repaired.

Thursday morning I ignored that warning. When I stepped on the second step from the top, the support gave way and I ended up falling through:

Thankfully I broke no bones, didn’t even shed any blood. I did bruise both of my thighs, twist my right ankle, and, probably because I was holding my cane, sprain my right wrist.

The most traumatic part of the whole thing was figuring out how to extricate myself from the steps. As I was analyzing the problem, I was tempted to take my cell phone out of my shirt pocket and dial 911. I didn’t. Somehow—and I have no idea how—I freed myself from the steps, hobbled to the garage, and drove myself to and from the VA appointment.

When I returned home, I spent the remainder of the day in bed, being ministered to (and harassed) by Alex. Today I am much stiffer than I was yesterday. There is a bit of pain when I walk—make that “shuffle”—around. The most grueling part of today is, because of my wrist, I am typing and using the computer mouse only with my left hand, which makes typing extremely slow.

Of course, as with all traumas, I am attempting to find a silver lining. I think I shall suggest—perhaps even write—a new book for the Dummies series: How Not to Ignore Warnings for Dummies.


  1. Oh no:(!!!

    That totally stinks, Nick!

    Omigoodness - well, you are apparently (hopefully!) all right - thank God...

    I fell the other day too, but am okay - I tried to land in a less painful way than the direction I was headed, so I'm less sore than I would've been.

    Thanks for answering the 'Dummies' question, too - I recently obtained 'Singing for Dummies' & have found it easy to read as I'm trying to improve my tra-la-la for choir purposes:)

  2. Good Lord, Nick! Looking at the nails in those boards, you could have really been seriously hurt. Are you going to get out of that old house before you are hurt? My offer of a home in the Arizona desert sill stands.

  3. ` Ouch! Hope your wrist heals soon! I hate sprains! Especially since they don't really entirely heal.
    ` Falling through steps and picnic table seats has happened to me many times. And I was blamed. Even when other people fell through. But that's just my life.

    ` I'm thinking about that saying about being silent lest you reveal yourself to be a fool.

    ` Well, off to bed. The aliens are distracting me.

  4. There's enough dummies books out there, why not go for it?

    That sucks about the mishap. Hopefully you'll recover soon with not too much damage.

  5. Hi Nick ~~ So sorry you had that fall
    and hope a few days rest will help you heal. Here, the Dept. Veteran's Affairs would come and fix that step for you. I have had rails put in the shower, toilet and at doors and a few
    other aids to turn taps on etc.
    Can you inquire if they can do this for you? Get better soon, Regards, Merle.

  6. What an awful way to start the day! I guess after a beginning like that, the day can't help but get better.

    If it was me, I would have named the books for beginners. It would be a little kinder, and a little more accurate. A real For Dummies book would just say "Don't touch it! Go find a smart person!" ;0)

  7. Taking a spill like that is not good for folks our age!

    Hope you mend quickly.

  8. Oh, no, Nick! I pray you recover from this 100 times faster than is usual!

    btw, is the organizing for dummies book really that helpful?

  9. Just stoppin by to say hello. I liked the suggestion you left on my blog. Cheers from Boston=:)

  10. Well, you may not be a dummy, but I do wonder about your common sense. I hope you are mending OK.

  11. That's terrible! I hope you're feeling a bit better every day. My son just did almost the exact same thing yesterday---we had a step missing because of some work being done in the garage and he forgot. Landed on a garbage bag that had a broken plate in it and split his foot open. Wasn't a pretty sight!
    Ya gotta be careful out there!
    Take care.

  12. Oh dear, Nick, you are having a rough time of it lately. I'm so glad you weren't seriously injured. As Merle said, your Vets' Assoc. should be able to do something about those stairs for you.

    I have "Learning to Speak Italian for Dummies"...I haven't learnt it yet...what does that say about me? Lol!

    I hope Alex is fulfilling his nursing duties properly.

    Take care. Hugs

  13. You could have broken both you legs! I am so glad you didn’t.