Warren Miller: Being a doofus, instead of being in a heat wave
August 26, 2011
As I get older I have started to notice that sometimes I will go downstairs from my office, and when I get there, I wonder why I have just made the trip. I wonder if that is the preview of Alzheimer’s disease or my brain is just so full of stuff after all of the years of doing stuff that there is not much more room in my memory bank.
I was brought up short the other day when I was shaving and I complained to my wife that my electric razor was really getting dull because it was taking so long to shave.
My wife calmly replied, “Warren, your razor would work faster and better if you turned it on.”
I turned it on and it only took a minute or so to get a good shave out of it. Wonder of wonders.
The name of Doofus is starting to be my REAL name instead of a nickname.
How many times over the years has this type of thing happened to me? I lost count years ago and does it really matter as long as no lives were lost because it happened?
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The worst Doofus moment, in relation to a customer of mine, probably was years ago when I was narrating all of my shows live and would sometimes visit over a hundred cities during the fall and winter. I always tried to get to the town as early as possible so that I could do any last minute promotion to pull together loose ends before the final moment.
I arrived in Wenatchee, Wash., one afternoon after driving from Portland, Ore., where I had done a show the night before. When I called the sponsors and asked how the tickets sales were going, I was told, “We were sold out last night and wondered where you were! We ended up having to refund everyone’s money!”
I went into a panic and consulted my copy of their contract and they had made the mistake. Fortunately for everyone, I had an open date five nights later. All I had to do were shows in Vancouver, B.C., Tacoma, Port Angeles, Bellingham and then back to Wenatchee.
I returned to do the show after a very long drive back and then after the Wenatchee show I had to do one in Eugene, Ore., the following night. The Wenatchee sponsors were the ones who had made the mistake when they read our contract wrong. I was relieved that they were the Doofuses that time.
Another time I was flying nonstop from Los Angeles to New York to make an appearance on Good Morning America and while flying there the earthquake in San Francisco happened and of course I found out that I was pre-empted when I called for the limousine to pick me up the next morning. The round trip from Los Angeles was for nothing except the round trip. That time the earthquake was the Doofus.
Last year my memory really failed me when we were going through customs in Canada. While my wife was handling the paperwork, I was standing on the dock talking to four of our guests and one customs officer. I took a step to the right instead of the left and walked right off of the dock into ice-cold water. Fortunately our close doctor friend was with us and no stitches were needed for the cuts and bruises where I had hit the dock.
Today almost everyone I know has a Blackberry to store all of his or her important information. Knowing my ability to be a Doofus, I carry around a “Whiteberry”. It is a spiral- bound, 3- by 5-inch note pad and a pen. That way it has to be important or I don’t write it down. Often when I get to my desk I remember that I left my “Whiteberry” in my other pants that I had already thrown in the laundry basket. My wife is smart enough to check my pockets before she throws the pants in the washing machine so all of (what I think are) my valuable notes are preserved until I can get to them.
Then I keep my memory sharp by trying to remember what call “frimp@glock” means. Or be sure and call “Ghsut,” whoever “Ghsut” is. If people only spoke slower or I could learn to live my life with my two thumbs and a Blackberry instead of a sharpie and a piece of white paper with notes on it – notes that have been scribbled while riding with my wife while she was driving on a bumpy road and my glasses couldn’t be found anywhere.
If I could see a copy somewhere of a list of all of the mess-ups that I have been involved in during my life it would probably be longer than the autobiography that I am currently writing. I find that the entire world likes it when someone messes up because it gives the rest of us a sense of superiority to that poor Doofus.
I have more than my share of Doofus moments every time I play a round of golf. I found that it is way too frustrating to bother to keep score because many of the holes that I try to get the ball into take a double digit number of hits to get it there. I don’t need that kind of scorecard to take home. Instead I just keep track of how many golf balls I lose and how many hits that I felt good doing. When the number of good hits occasionally outscores the number of golf balls that I lose, it has been a good day.
I ride in a cart, no cell phone allowed, and soak up the Northwestern sunshine (when that occasionally happens), and life could not be any better. On top of that, it has not hit 80 degrees all summer where we live, while the rest of America is either in a rainstorm, a dust storm, a heat wave, a drought, or all of the above. An occasional Doofus moment is a small price to pay for all the good that is happening.