Remember Walken’s Rule


I don't think they've started it yet, but friends tell me it will soon begin "” every time you do something strange, your kids think you are one step away from dementia, and wonder how they'll get you to understand you can't take care of yourself anymore.

Pride is a horrible thing. I know it's dangerous to pride myself on being a veteran multi-tasker. I was coming out of a parking ramp, and as is my habit, had my cash ready (heaven forbid I should hold up the line by waiting until the clerk asks before I reach for my wallet "” if I'm paying by check, I would even have everything filled in but the amount before I got to the till).

I handed the cash and the ticket to the cashier, satisfied that I'd expedited the procedure in a manner that could not be surpassed.

Except, the cashier handed me back the ticket, saying it was the wrong one.

Wrong one! Certainly I didn't have another parking ramp ticket. No, it was the card from the beauty parlor on which the receptionist had written the date of my next appointment.

Aargh! The only thing worse would have been had it been the date of my next colonoscopy. I hate this!

But, as I drove out of the ramp, chiding myself, I remembered something that Walken Ratajczyk, local artist, said at the pre-Christmas art sale at Studios on Fifth. He pointed out that everyone, no matter what age, makes little mistakes now and then. According to him, he has made a careful observation of a 20-something relative, and the kid is just as likely to do something like I did in handing the cashier the wrong ticket, and just as often.

The difference, says Walken, is that nobody says to the 20-year-old, "Hey, man, you must be losing it. Are you sure you should be living alone? Maybe you should give up that driver's license, move in with your younger sister."

So, next time you forget something, don't go chastising yourself. Don't blush and hope your kids don't find out.

Just remember Walken's Rule, and don't fret. That's my New Year's advice to you.


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