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“I Can’t Believe I Did That!” Mistakes I Made This Year

December 28, 2019

Another Way for week of December 27, 2019

“I Can’t Believe I Did That!” Mistakes I Made This Year

Ah, taking-inventory time. I’m supposed to be in the older but wiser years of my life, but how can I personally improve my game and have fewer “I can’t believe I did that!” moments in the year to come?

And please don’t tell my daughters about this column, lest they decide to check me in early to one of our splendid local retirement centers. Here are three of my most embarrassing/stupid moments from the past year.

1.The scariest thing I did, at least from the standpoint of potential jumping-through-hoops fallout, was leaving my passport on a table in a very busy tourist store in Alaska. The back story is this: my husband wasn’t feeling well and I went to the port to find acetaminophen. We brought along aspirin and ibuprofen but not a fever reducer. We had been told to always carry our passports with us if we left the ship so mine was in a slim purse hanging from my neck. But I must have got out the passport as I took out some postcards to mail at the store’s mail drop. Next, I searched for first aid things, found some pills, some ginger ale, and hurried to check out. As I was leaving, a young male employee who appeared to be native Alaskan, handed me my passport saying “I think this is yours.” I gushed my thanks. I didn’t even remember having it out! As I continued to marvel at my stupid act and this guy’s sweet return of the precious passport, I left the shop shaking my head and thanking the good Lord for honest store workers.

2. Probably the most chilling thing I did, at home, was lying down too soon after swallowing a coated ibuprofen pill. I wanted to put lotion on my legs; to increase blood circulation, I often put my feet up in the air as I apply moisturizer. But that pill refused to melt or wash down for about three hours. I tried to go to sleep. I coughed, hem-hawed, took drinks, and generally was worried that I could have more serious choking going on. Too many friends and relatives have choked (two died) to just brush it off and hope I would sleep ok. It all finally went down about 2 a.m. and I was able to sleep, but Lord help me, I’ll never try that again.

3. But my biggest snafu this year also happened in Alaska. When disembarking from a cruise, (usually in the morning), you put your suitcases outside your room door when you go to bed, for the cabin stewards to pick up during the night and load onto carts to go to the airport or wherever. Our travel agent and the stewards had reminded us to keep clothes out to wear in the morning, something we could pack in our carryon bags or backpack. I had four pair of shoes along on that trip, and somehow packed ALL of the shoes into the luggage we placed outside our room door. I never thought about what shoes I’d wear to the airport. In the morning, as soon as I discovered my mistake, I began to panic, and went down to the room services desk to see if they had slippers I could use. No, they were just made of paper for use on ship. In desperation I sought out our room steward and told him my dilemma. He thought three seconds and said, “Wait, I have some slider sandals you can have.” He got them and gave them to me. I was stunned. Did he give me his own slippers? They were nice, probably $40 new. Perhaps someone else had left them onboard previously. I thanked him profusely and wore some socks (which I had saved out) with those huge man slide-ons. At the airport I was able to open my luggage and wear my own shoes the rest of the way home.

Bon voyage into 2020! What kind deeds have others done unexpectedly for you? Let’s be grateful that most people are really good at heart, as Anne Frank wrote.


Share your stories and comments here! It could be your biggest/worst mistake of the year, or a kindness someone else showed you.


Or, send them to me at or write to Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834. Please indicate if it is okay for me to share your story.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.





  1. Very entertaining, Melodie. Love these!

    Writers can always turn embarrassing moments into stories, which is what I did when I ran over not one but two traffic cones. I’m sure you remember the post:

    Thanks for showing your vulnerable self and for your lovely Christmas greeting. I’ll look forward to hearing from your ma too.

    Happy New Year!

    • Yes, I know that pastors, like writers, sometimes use these embarrassing times as illustrations. Glad you enjoyed it. I truly had a few minutes (15-20) of panic. And yes, I do recall your two traffic cone incident.

      I look forward to what Mom writes you as well. Tends to write in shorthand sentences. 🙂
      Our holidays are winding down but yes, best wishes for your 2020 also!

  2. Oh I know you feel silly sharing these stories with us. But oh my goodness, I feel so much better knowing I’m not the only one LOL I laughed so hard with the last, about trying to leave the ship with no shoes. Thanks for the day brightener!

    PS. I got your book, but I think I forgot to write and let you know it arrived. I haven’t started it yet – the past two weeks have been crazy, with nary a time to read. Even at bedtime, when I usually read for at least 30 minutes to an hour before sleep, the reading time has been nonexistent. Three more days…then life slows down. Have a great week!

    • I haven’t showed this one to my husband yet, he doesn’t quite understand anyone who would ‘fess up to human moments this way. 🙂 Glad it was a day brightener for you. And good to know your book arrived. No pressure to dig into my book! Have a great new year.

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