Speaking of good days, and who isn't these days, I am looking forward to two in a row. I know it may be wishful thinking on my part, but a person has to do something with his time.
Last week I almost broke my record with two consecutive good days. But, wouldn't you know it, it just did not happen.
With all my experience in this matter, I plan to write a book someday: "How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Day." I know 197 different ways to ruin a good day. Who knows, by next week it might pass the 200 mark. When that happens, I will celebrate.
For those who do not know how to ruin a perfectly good day, let me outline some tried and true suggestions from my vast wealth of experience.
The first thing is to define what a perfectly good day is. After all, how can you ruin a perfectly good day (PG day) if you don't recognize it? Of course, I agree that nothing is really perfect.
Perfect is in the eye of the beholder and nobody can hold her for very long. What is perfect to me may not be perfect to someone else - like my wife.
A perfectly good day is one of those rare days when everything goes according to plan - my plan that is. I like to get up in the morning and over my morning coffee, review my "to-do-list" for the day and put things in order of importance.
A successful "to-do-list," in my opinion, is a list that does not take all day to do. I need some time for myself.
If my "to-do-list" has too much to do, the chances of the day being a PG day is between slim and nil.
A PG day has more hours in it than things to do. I hate it when I run out of day before I finish my "to-do-list."
Last Monday, I had just finished my morning cup of Joe and finished reviewing my "to-do-list" and seemed to have the day well in hand.
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage noticed my face sporting a playful smile. If there is something my wife can't stand, it is a playful smile across my map. For some reason she thinks I'm up to no good. Usually she's right.
"Why don't you call and straighten out the telephone bill?" she said, as coolly as a preacher at a summer picnic.
It was on my list but not anywhere near the top.
I was rather nonchalant and not ready for this task. I had not seen my chalant for weeks but it did not concern me. Looking back, I should have been concerned, or at least looked for my chalant.
Actually, I was upbeat and gingerly picked up the phone and dialed the number.
Soon a cheery voice was giving me instructions; "Our options have changed to serve you better. Please listen carefully. If you wish to continue in English please press 1."
In the confusion, I pressed 4 and got Japanese.
I began the process all over again. This time I pressed the right button and got the rest of the instructions in English. From then on, I pressed number after number and got nowhere.
For the next 12 minutes, I was pressing numbers and listening to instructions. Finally, I heard the telephone ringing and a cheerful voice answered. At this point, I thought I was home free, but alas, fate was only putting a hefty mortgage on my home.
"'Ello, can I to help please you?"
"Huh," I said as diplomatically as I knew how.
"Can I to help please you?" the voice in the phone repeated.
I may not be the sharpest pencil in the box but I knew I was talking to someone as familiar with the English language as a politician is to the truth.
"Is there anyone there," I pled, "who speaks English?"
"Ah, yes, I to speak berry goot English. Can I to help please you?"
So, I threw caution to the wind and explained the mix-up on my bill.
"Aaah, I understand. This is billing problem. I transfer you to billing department."
For the next 20 minutes, I was treated, and I say this with tongue firmly planted in my cheek, to a musical interlude. It was elevator music; it raised my blood pressure.
For the next three hours, I went from pillar to post in the telephone department and got no nearer to solving my telephone-billing mix-up.
One of the problems with being a minister is you are not allowed to swear. By 2:30 in the afternoon, I had an overwhelming urge to swear. My difficulty was simply, I could not think of any swear words to use and "ah, fiddlesticks" does not seem to carry much significance in such circumstance.
By 4 that afternoon, I still had no solution to my billing problem. I had exhausted all my options, not to mention my patience, and nothing to show for it. All I wanted to do was pay my bill.
Through my experience with the telephone company, I was reminded of one of my favorite verses from the Bible. "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." (Jeremiah 33:3 KJV.)
It is comforting to know that God is only a prayer away.
Read more articles by James Snyder or search for articles on the same topic or others.