short excerpts...other writings...upon occasion or as prompted...
The tiger in the water? A representation of my life -- spirit and environment!


Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Rewards of Revealing Your Incompetence

My children, secretaries, and friends have always been very protective of me. This, I think, is because they consider me incompetent in some areas of life (and therefore vulnerable). They are seemingly correct.

At least in terms of cooking, I would not lay claim to any awards. I have to admit that much. That started as a child, when I proudly presented my first cake to my father, who took one bite and proclaimed the cake "not fit for the pigs." (And, indeed, when we threw it into the pigpen, the pigs refused to eat it, kicking it around for a couple of weeks until it finally biodegraded.)

My kids would often beg other people to make their party meals not because I would not but because they were afraid that I would. At one point, my secretary asked me to buy one of my sons a birthday cake on the way home. When I asked why, she said that he had called and asked her to bake him a cake and upon learning that she could not because she was not going to be home, he had sobbed, "If you don't, Mom will."

I'm not much better when it comes to painting. I can usually get a room started, but someone else ends up finishing it. It's not a Tom Sawyer act or an act at all. It's good old-fashioned incompetence. For example, recently I wanted to pain a room before a tenant moved into it. I covered the floor with plastic and started busily to cover the walls with paint. Before I could finish covering them all, however, I managed to step into the paint bucket (painting my foot), trip over the plastic covering (exposing the carpet), and tip over the paint bucket (painting the bucket). The room with the painted carpet was fully painted, thanks to a tenant taking over. That's pretty much par for the course for me when it comes to household chores.

People not only seem to accept that kind of incompetence, but they quickly step in to help me. When my father-in-law first met me, I was cooking bacon for his breakfast. He immediately took over, without waiting to be introduced. He apparently thought that breakfast would be in some kind of danger if left in my hands. And so it has gone always.

Are there any rewards to be found in revealing one's incompetence? Certainly! All my children, regardless of gender, became good cooks. (They, of course, claim that learning to cook was self-defense.) My rooms get painted. Other people offer to help with anything that is based on handicraft. So, I get pampered. All by being just a tad honest about a few deficiencies.

I have a feeling that all those folks who step in to help gather some sense of reward as a result of their helping. Why else would they help?


Excerpted and adapted from a story I published in a collection of vignettes, copyright 2003.


  1. You are too funny. Hope you are feeling better.
    Blessings, hugs, and prayers,

  2. Very nice blog!
    And I expect you to visit my blogs.

  3. I must concur, my cooking [most of the time...scares my adult children].

    Thank you.

  4. You received an award. ^^ -


About Me

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I am the mother of 4 birth children (plus 3 others who lived with us) and grandmother of 2, all of them exceptional children. Married for 42 years, I grew up in Maine, live in California, and work in many places in education, linguistics, and program management. In my spare time, I rescue and tame feral cats and have the scars to prove it. A long-time ignorantly blissful atheist converted by a theophanic experience to Catholicism, I am now a joyful catechist. Oh, I also authored a dozen books, two under my pen name of Mahlou (Blest Atheist and A Believer-in-Waiting's First Encounters with God).

My Other Blogs

100th Lamb. This is my main blog, the one I keep most updated.

The Clan of Mahlou
. This is background information about various members of the extended Mahlou family. It is very much a work still in progress. Soon I will begin posting excerpts from a new book I am writing, Raising God's Rainbow Makers.

Modern Mysticism. This blog discusses the mystical in our pragmatic, practical, realistic, and rational 21st century world and is to those who spend some or much of their time in an irrational/mystical relationship with God. If such things do not strain your credulity, you are welcome to follow the blog and participate in it.

Recommended Reading List

Because I am blog inept, I don't quite know how to get a reading list to stay at the end of the page and not disappear from sight. Therefore, I entered it as my first post. I suppose that is not all that bad because readers started commenting about the books, even suggesting additional readings. So, you can participate with others in my reading list by clicking here.
I do post additional books as I read them and find them to be meaningful to me, and therefore, hopefully, meaningful to you. One advantage of all the plane traveling I do is that I acquire reading time that I might not otherwise take.