Humble Pie

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I believe humble pie is God’s way of reminding us just Who the boss is.  Case in point: last week I fell trying to step over a Birdie (the dog) barrier (Jack – the cat – has got to have his own space free of the BEAST, fer cryin’ outloud – and rollin’ in the mud) and temporarily reverted to heathen status while in the course of the event I shall always call the ‘fall’.  I caught my back foot on the knee high barrier, and realized in that instant that I would eventually find myself in a classic death pose on the kitchen floor in just the matter of a heartbeat.  As I plummeted toward the tile I had time to say one last, profound word that would speak for my entire life.  My primitive side stole the mike, though, and croaked “F**K!”  The syllable bounced loudly off the walls and ceiling all through the house like a barbaric YAWP (nod to Walt Whitman), and as soon as the sound vomited from my lungs I knew I had been exposed as a true redneck, so I repeated the verb one more time for good measure as my old bones kissed the ground.  I lay there, hearing that word echo like bullets into my civility, and it reminded me there were still some remnants of my old salty dawg days hanging around the cobwebbed rafters of my mind.  Pride and arrogance flew out the window for a moment, and that’s when the Creator shoved a mouthful of humility down my throat.  The only thing left of me was laughter, so I used it to pick myself off the floor.

Now I’m not sure what’s going to come out of my mouth if, for instance, I were involved in an automobile accident.  I’ve heard it said “first you say it, then you do it”, but would rather not have either.  It seems instinct has the upper hand on what wisdom will spew from my lips, though, so I really shouldn’t torture myself pretending I’d have a choice in the moment.  I mean, I’d prefer to quote Apollo Creed in that beer commercial: “Here we go!” or to even come up with something all my own, like “Cancel my Bar Mitzvah!” or “Wotten Totten Piddly Pie!”  Yes, that would be nice – but we both know it won’t happen.  I’ll be caught up in the moment and announce the arrival of my bodily waste.  That’s what makes humble pie so tasty.  Hey, it’s better than eating crow, if you consider tripe superior to bird meat.

Look, I’m as humble as the next guy. Wait. I’m way more humble than the next guy, if you’re talking about that guy over there. Heck, I’m so humble, I spent the better part of one whole day with bird poop on my head and didn’t give it two thoughts. Well, to be technical, I didn’t even give it one thought. I’m used to people pointing and laughing at me for something or another, so I just checked for a booger on my mustache and kept going. Maybe that wasn’t a good example of being humble. Let me think. Uh, hold on. Thinking isn’t my strong suit. Let’s see what ole Webster has to say. Humble: not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive. Wow. Thanks, Noah. You just told me what it’s NOT. Sheesh. They don’t make dictionaries like they used to.

I heard a story once about a guy in Chicago who wanted to spread his religious beliefs and asked God to give him a suggestion. God must have been in a rare mood that day, because He told the guy “Make a sandwich board with your church’s worship times on it, and walk all around the downtown area.” The guy grumbled about it (but not too loud lest God hear him) but made a sandwich board, painted the information on it, strapped it onto himself and spent the day wandering up one busy sidewalk after another, feeling very self conscious and ‘not proud or haughty’. Finally the day was done. The guy took the sandwich board off and went home, thinking to himself, “I bet nobody else in Chicago has the humility it takes to do what I just did.” So much for not being proud. Reminds me of the old song “Oh, Lord, it’s hard to be humble, when you’re perfect in every way.” I know how that feels. Really.

Perhaps humbleness doesn’t know itself. Not that it’s ignorant or anything like that. It just won’t put a spotlight on itself. I think humility must be unassuming, too, and not likely to take credit for anything. You know, humbleness would be a pretty good friend to have around. Imagine how much attention you could get just having it nearby. I think I’ll make a huge humble pie and hand it around, because we need more of it in others. It gets mighty lonely up here on Humble Mountain.

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