The Lost Column: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Laptop

The columnist’s idea for this week’s offering seems to have flown the coop. What’s he going to do now? Let’s take a peek.

I had a great idea for a column for this week, but there’s one small problem. I’ve forgotten what it was. Now that I’m sixty-two I have a built in excuse though - senior moment!

I carry a small notebook with me at all times; one small enough to slip in to my pocket. When I’m out and about I see something that’s ‘column-worthy’ I grab my notebook and scribble down a few notes; just enough to jar my memory lest I forget.

There are times when I fly out the door in haste and leave my notebook behind. Pretty sad, huh? I forget to take the notebook that I carry with me so I won’t forget things. Irony has nothing on me!

Thank God for napkins, menus, and yes, even tissue. No, not toilet tissue, the other kind; the type you use to blow your nose. Though I’d venture to guess that Charmin is thick enough to write on, but let’s not go there right now.

When I was pastoring a church in Bourne, I once wrote extensive sermon notes on a placemat and took the placemat to Sunday service and used it as a prop to demonstrate how God speaks to us in mysterious ways, in strange places and in His time. It turned out to be a great teaching moment and it was also hilarious.

I frequently use humor to make a serious point. Some people don’t like that; they don’t get it. I was once approached by another pastor who had attended an event at which I was the speaker. He came over to me and said, “The Gospel is serious stuff, you know.” I guess he was criticizing my use of humor during my talk, which had those in attendance in stitches much of the evening. Maybe he was jealous.

I replied, “It certainly is,” and turned and walked away from him, not wanting to get in to a senseless discussion, which would inevitably turn in to an even more senseless argument. Such things are a waste of my time and energy. I don’t go there. I can’t be bothered.

In my most humble opinion, the important thing is to get through to people, to make your point using the gifts you have been given. Speaking of humility, Numbers 12:3 says,

“Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.”

Guess who authored the Book of Numbers? Moses! Is that a scream or what? Moses is declaring that he, Moses, is the most humble individual on the face of the earth. He’s patting himself on the back. Moses, the humble one. Tell me God doesn’t have a sense of humor.

I know that pastor who criticized my style still doesn’t understand me, but I couldn’t care less. That’s not my problem. That’s his problem. I’ve learned that I can’t please everyone, nor do I have any desire to do so. I guess that comes with life experience and getting to know oneself. Age does have its benefits, despite all the aches and pains and, of course; the memory loss. Let’s see now; where was I?

Nearly all my ideas come from simply observing people doing fairly mundane, everyday things, each in their own inimitable style. When you think about it; what else is there?  

There are ideas everywhere if one just pays attention. Paying attention has never been a problem for me. But in recent years, remembering things has become a problem. Thus, the implementation of my notebook method. My notebook is a replacement for the brain cells that have rudely vacated the premises; the premises being my brain.

As I’ve mentioned in previous writings; I’m an observer. I don’t miss much. I pick up on things that a lot of others would miss; subtle things. This is the way I’ve always been. It’s nothing I’ve learned to do; it’s inborn. It’s an integral part of my personality.

But, regrettably, I trusted that I’d remember the idea I had for this week’s column. I guess I forgot that I’d forget if I didn’t write it in my notebook, which is precisely what I forgot to do. What a shame! It was a great idea, at least that’s my recollection.

My wife and I went out to breakfast Saturday morning, which is our custom on Saturdays. We were sitting at the , talking and enjoying our coffee while we waited for our breakfast. Since I’d forgotten my stellar idea for this week’s column; I was hoping the café crowd might provide me with some new material.

Two older gentlemen were seated at the table adjacent to ours. One of them was talking so loudly that I’m sure everyone in the place could hear every word he said. I’m guessing he may have had a hearing problem. Lord knows he didn’t have a talking problem.

Suddenly, the old guy started coughing and choking to beat the band. This went on for a good three to four minutes. His breakfast buddy sat there, seemingly oblivious to this endless guttural barrage.

Our food arrived just as the old guy began hacking violently in to his napkin. I was contemplating asking if he’d like me to call 911, when the old guy let out a disgusting guttural sound, spit into his napkin and told his friend, “I’ve been coughing up big balls of phlegm for over a week.”

This is definitely not acceptable breakfast talk, especially when I’ve just ordered eggs benedict. How do these people find me?

Despite the drama, we somehow managed to get our food down without incident and headed over to the to pick up a few things for the garden. I was still looking a little green around the gills after our rather disgusting experience at breakfast and I was seriously concerned that I was in danger of becoming the main character in someone else’s disgusting experience, if you get my drift. Let’s just say my stomach was a bit queasy.

I have no proof of this, but I think I have more bizarre experiences than the average guy. It could be that I seek these things out surreptitiously as fodder for my writing. God, I hope I’m wrong!


Now that I have your attention; there’s a serious matter that merits discussion.

Twenty-two year old Nicole St. John was killed in the early morning hours of February 26, 2009,when her vehicle collided with a tractor trailer at the intersection of Foundry and Prospect streets in Easton, an intersection which boasts nearly three times the average accident rate for intersections in Massachusetts that do not have a traffic light.

Since Nicole’s tragic death more than two years ago, her parents, Danny and Debbie St. John, have dedicated their lives to a grassroots campaign to get a before another family is faced with the terrible pain of losing a loved one at that deadly intersection.

You have an opportunity to make a difference; to honor Nicole’s memory by voting for the installation of the traffic light at the On Monday, May 16.

Debbie St. John has been told that work will begin immediately if this project is approved at Town Meeting. Immediately is already two years too late for the St. John’s. Let’s not wait any longer. Let’s approve this measure. Vote!

For further information you may email info@seethelight.us.

Make it a great week!

Bob Havey is an Easton-based freelance writer. His column, "The View From Here", appears each Tuesday at http://easton-ma.patch.com and his other column "Take Me Back" runs every Friday at http://mansfield-ma.patch.com

Lisa May 10, 2011 at 04:14 PM
thanks Bob
Frida May 12, 2011 at 02:38 PM
OMG! That story about the guy at the restaurant almost made me sick. I may never eat eggs benedict again.
Kara M May 13, 2011 at 11:04 PM
Nice column Mr H. Gross but nice. And yes we need a light at that intersection.
Sandra Jones Chavez May 16, 2011 at 03:06 PM
Did you get your traffic light>> SJC
Bob Havey May 16, 2011 at 09:00 PM
The vote is tonight, Sandy.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »