As human beings, we are not infallible and are prone to making mistakes. While perfection is a great goal, no matter how hard we strive, it is nearly impossible to achieve.
Some mistakes can be little, such as a typographical error in a text message or slip of the tongue using the wrong word when speaking with someone. You can make mistakes about someone’s identity, such as accidentally thinking the person you saw passing by is an old friend, or accidentally use salt instead of sugar when following a recipe.
These types of mistakes are usually insignificant and don’t have lasting implications, though we may feel quite silly for a period of time.
Others mistakes can be big and have much greater impact on our lives. Consider the divorce rate in America. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about every three in 1,000 marriages in the United States results in divorce, meaning lots of people have made a mistake when selecting a spouse. Trying to put your life back together after such an upheaval can be difficult.
Mistakes also can have life or death consequences. Mixing up a prescription at a pharmacy, not realizing there was a bullet in the chamber when cleaning a gun or hitting the gas pedal instead of the brake when driving could all have deadly results.
So, imagine how intrigued I was when a book emblazoned with the phrase “Never make a mistake when someone else can make it for you” and entitled “Never! 750+ Things You Should Never Do” came across my desk.
The book, edited by Gerd De Ley and published by Hatherleigh Press, offers readers tidbits of advice from people from all walks of life — some famous and some not so famous. There are words by authors, comedians, actors, philosophers, philanthropists, tycoons and politicians.
They are arranged by topics such as relationships, careers, travel and “the rest.” But in reality, just opening the book to any pages will offer sage wisdom that could be applied to nearly any situation.
The first piece of advice, from Dutch writer Simon Carmiggelt and featured in the “Not an Introduction,” sets the tone for the book. “‘Never’ is a ridiculous word you should never use!”
Here are some others. On page 55: “Never doubt what no one is sure about.” — Roald Dahl. On page 92: “Never confuse the size of your paycheck with the size of your talent.” — Marlon Brando. On page 164: “Never trust an animal — no matter how many legs it has.” — James Geary.
While some of the quotes may seem random, each either starts with the word “never” or includes it somewhere. And while some of the advice is truly serious and practical, overall the book was intended to amuse and entertain.
In the spirit of “Never,” I offer this piece of advice from Randy Pausch found on page 147: “Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” It’s something we all could use a little more of these days.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.