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Terri Simon

‘Do over!’


When I was a kid, and someone accidentally broke a rule or something didn’t go quite right with an outside game we were playing, someone would shout, “Do over!” Those two little words basically meant ... No harm done. Let’s just do it again.

“Do over” was a frequent sound in our outside games. If someone was running to first base in a barnyard kickball game, and it was impossible to tell if the first base player actually tagged the runner out or not, the shout of “do over” could be heard from many of the youthful players. Seldom did anyone argue about the decision to “do over.” It was a quick, easy and fair way to redo what had just been done to ultimately save a tyranny of unhappy players in a friendly game. “Do over!”

As an adult, those “do over” moments on the playground are few and far between, however, my computer at work has a similar feature which I dearly love. The other day, I was laying out a page in the newspaper, and in my zest to get it finished, I accidentally did “something,” and the next thing I knew all the stories and photos had leaped off the page and were floating around somewhere in Cyberspace. Ugh! Gone! Thirty minutes of work down the drain!

Shouting “do over” wouldn’t have helped a bit at this moment, however, I’ve learned that if I hit the Apple key along with the Z key, that action ignores the mistake and takes me back to where I initially was. I hit Apple Z, and the page reappeared, just as it had before. Ta-da! Life was good, and my inclination to run screaming through the newsroom passed quickly. I love Apple Z. I tend to use it often.

While the “do over” moments are probably gone from my adult world and the Apple Z moments only pertain to working at this newspaper, I can’t help but think how wonderful it would be if there were more “do over” and Apple Z moments in life ...

• Hurt someone’s feelings? “Do over!”

• React in a way you wish you wouldn’t have? Apple Z!

• Yelled at the kids? “Do over!”

• Not proud of the words you just uttered? Apple Z!

Wouldn’t life be grand if we had those options! But we don’t. Instead we’re left with words like “I’m sorry,” “Forgive me,” “What was I thinking?” or worse, we’re left to figure out the impossible: How to erase what we’ve just done, even though we know there’s no way to undo any of it. It’s a sick feeling that lives in the bottom of your gut, and your only recourse is to hope that people understand that if you could take it all back ... you would ... even though you can’t.

It was those thoughts that were rolling around my head the other evening, after a long day at the office when I let my mouth get ahead of that filter in my head that is supposed to screen my words before they just come rolling out of my mouth with no thought or consideration for others. Yes, that filter occasionally malfunctions, and I’m left to pick up the pieces. That evening I wandered around my backyard, kicking myself for not being more thoughtful, more appropriate, more the Terri I want and need to be. More than anything else, I was angry at myself ... and there was no “do over” or Apple Z to bail me out. No second chances.

As I spent countless minutes beating myself up that evening on my stroll around the yard, I couldn’t help but notice all the tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, buds on the trees, etc., that were making their springtime debut. Spring officially arrives Tuesday, and the welcome sight of these friends of nature seemed to put things into perspective a bit. After all, if the tulips and the trees and the other plants around my yard get a second chance every spring, surely I should allow myself the luxury now and then of a second chance as well.

“Do over,” Apple Z, second chances ... May the upcoming season allow the human side of us that makes mistakes the chance to embrace the opportunity to start over again.

BCR Editor Terri Simon can be reached at tsimon@bcrnews.com or you can follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bcrnews.tsimon.