There are times when a thought comes out of nowhere and I’m blindsided

I love it when that happens because most of the time, the thought goes somewhere. Usually that thought will find its way onto this page, but with some elaboration, of course.

The latest thought that got my attention came to mind as I was driving away from a gas pump at Loves Country Store on Interstate 30 near Rockwall. I looked in my side mirror and thought, yes, once again I’m driving away from a gas pump with no nozzle stuck in my gas tank.

For the record, that’s never happened to me. Honest. And I’m so happy I have never been in that state of embarrassment. That would be awful.

I’m famous for my blunders, but the thought that got some traction as I was driving away was that there are a few blunders of life that have never happened in the history of me.

One involves me and the performance of my duties as a newspaper reporter.

Thankfully, I have never awakened with a jolt from my slumber during a public meeting and slung my pen across the room, injuring another meeting spectator.

Jim, please elaborate.

There was a time when I would nap during some lengthy governmental meetings. I couldn’t help it. It just happened. On one Rockwall County city council, there was a city councilman I called the “nap police.” He would let me know after every meeting whether he caught me napping.

Imagine this. I’ve already mentioned the scene – Jim, falling asleep, awaking suddenly and slinging my pen across the room. Oh how funny that would be for everybody, but me.

I can honestly say I don’t nap anymore. In fact, I can’t recall the last time I dozed off during one of the important governmental meetings I get to attend. A fellow reporter commented recently that she saw me take a little nap during a city council meeting. She was wrong, honestly.

There are times when I will bow my head and close my eyes, but that is an intentional act. The next time I do that – just to make sure nobody thinks I’m napping – when I raise my head and open my eyes, I will whisper, “Amen.”

Oh, here’s another potentially embarrassing moment that has never happened to me. I had a close call recently, and I’m so thankful that I became an alert newspaper reporter type person and made an important observation.

The important observation: This is not the men’s restroom. Oh me.

I almost made a horrible mistake in the Rockwall County Courthouse recently. I had jury duty a few weeks ago. I actually spent three days in a fourth-floor courtroom. Of course, I made some visits to the men’s restroom on the fourth floor. The men’s restroom is on the left side of the elevators. On the second floor, the women’s restroom is on the left side.

During a recent visit to the district clerk’s office on the second floor of the courthouse, I thought I’d make a quick trip to the men’s room. I had my hand on the door and I just happened to look at the sign on the door. Yikes. I almost walked into the women’s restroom.

I walked into the district clerk’s office, laughing about my near blunder. They laughed with me – or at me. One of the ladies said that if I had actually walked in and discovered my mistake inside the restroom, I would have had an exciting column to write. No thanks. In this case, I had rather write about near blunders.

Be careful at Wal-Mart stores. All stores are not uniform – women’s restroom on the left, men’s restroom on the right.

I’ve learned to be a sign reader at restrooms. And even when I actually read a sign and it’s labled for “men,” I will look for confirmation with I enter. Urinals? Yes, the sight of urinals in a restroom provides such wonderful confirmation for this blunder-fearing person. I think that’s all I’m going to say about that.

I’m so thankful that I’m at the end of my weekly contribution to this space and I haven’t had to write about unzipped zippers, toilet paper, inside-out shirts, inside-out running shorts, mismatched shoes, driving a mile or two with a bowl of potato salad on top of my car or losing keys, cell phones and a wide array of other personal belongings.

Why? This column was about blunders that I have not committed.


Jim Hardin may be reached at