Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX


April 5, 2014

Don’t do it yourself

JACKSONVILLE — After years of fooling with just about every do-it-yourself project imaginable, I finally came to a startling conclusion. Just about everything I can do for myself, or think I can, somebody else can do for me faster and better and cheaper as well. Starting at an early age, I tried to learn every known skill in order to become independent. The heartache and frustration resulting from such a stubborn urge knew no bounds.

As a wood shop project in junior high school, for instance, I decided to make a coffee table for my mother. Not ever having paid much attention to what a coffee table looked like, I built something that defied description. It was about the right length and depth for a coffee table alright, but 36 inches high. Not only that, but one leg was shorter than the others, causing an annoying wobble. My mother said she thought it was beautiful and found a place for it in the living room, but not as a coffee table.

When I returned home from the Navy some years later, the table was no longer in evidence. It was well before the “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell” policy and I never asked about it.

This was the first of many such projects to follow that either damaged my pride or cost me money, or both. After some years of this lifestyle, wisdom suddenly struck me one day. With my wife’s wholehearted support my moto became: “Let somebody else do it.” Our friends were quick to notice my changed behavior. When company stopped by, the house was not in its usual state of chaos. No longer did we have to suggest to guests that they use the bathroom before visiting.

A succession of workers had to be called in to complete a variety of un-finished projects, but at last it was done. Everything was as I had imagined it would be. Since then I’ve applied the slogan, “Let Somebody Else Do It” to all parts of my life. I’m at peace with myself and have no reason to swear at all those out-of-order things that home-owners have to contend with.  Now I’ve hired other people to do my swearing for me.

But it didn’t stop there. We have a gardener to take care of the lawn and an attorney to fight our legal battles. A financial adviser manages our money, and we have a hair stylist to keep her beautiful and me reasonably presentable.  What we haven’t hired people to do, we use machines for. Why waste energy? I can use my golf cart to do errands here in the neighborhood as well as play golf.

I got tired of trying to be a good citizen and writing my congressman, which never seemed to work out all that well. I hired one of those high-powered lobbyists, but I can’t see that he’s gotten the pot-holes in our block taken care of. On the bright side, if the tax reduction he promised doesn’t go through, there’s a special clause in our contract that will allow me to write off most of my lobbyists’ salary.

But life is good and can only get better now that we’ve decided to get somebody else to do it.

A question to ponder:

If you try to fail and succeed, which have you done?

Contact Neeld at


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