No. 501


A few weeks ago at one of our Lions Club meetings, I was pressed into
service as the Tail Twister. The regular Tail Twister could not attend and
called and asked if I could stand in for him. Wanting to serve and to help,
I said yes, and I must confess it¹s always fun to get our meetings started
off on a positive note and add to the wonderful spirit of camaraderie that
is already present in our club.
If you don¹t know, the Tail Twister¹s job is to be the first rattle out
of the barrel and set the tone for the meeting by sharing some information
meant to enlighten or by telling a joke or doing something that creates a
lively atmosphere for the meeting. Since we have a very large Catholic
church and school here in our community, and some great people I might add,
I told a wonderful story I had run across, and is was well received.
It seems a young nun had worked for a local home health care agency and
was out making her rounds, when she ran out of gas. As luck would have it,
there was a gas station just one block away. She walked to the station to
borrow a can with enough gas to drive to the station for a fill-up. The
attendant regretfully told her the only gas can he owned had just been
loaned out, but if she would care to wait, he was sure it would be back
shortly. Since the nun was on her way to see a patient, she decided not to
wait and walked back to the car. After looking through the car for something
to carry to the station to fill with gas, she spotted a bedpan she was
taking to the patient.
Always resourceful, she carried it to the station, filled it with
gasoline, and carried it back to the car. As she was pouring the gas into
the tank of her car, two men watched her from across the street. One of them
turned and said to the other, ³If that car starts, I¹ll become a Catholic
for the rest of my life.² Now, I don¹t know how this story hits you, but to
me and my fellow Lions, it was really and truly funny. You understand, of
course, that when I tell a story like this I never mean any disrespect. In
fact, one member of our club is Catholic and I think he enjoyed it more than
In these stressful days when everyone seems so busy, I often develop a
mindset of trying to squeeze one more call, one more column or one more
activity into an already jam-packed day, and I forget to stop and smell the
roses. Do you also find this to be true in your own life? Whether it is
sooner or later, we are all going to run out of those days and if we don¹t
take time to have a little fun and to enjoy life ‹ well, we are just paying
too big a price for it. One thing is for sure, we are not going to take
anything out of this world with us when we leave.
Now, before my space is gone, I want to amplify on a word I have already
used. That word is ³enlighten² and means, ³to give revealing or broadening
knowledge; cause to know.² Several weeks ago my wife Viola ran across an old
Dr. Ken McFarland cassette we had stuck back and forgotten about. In past
years we had both enjoyed listening to him so much. Dr. McFarland passed
away several years ago, but at one time was America¹s most famous public
speaker, and served as a guest lecturer for General Motors for many years.
In this tape he talked about the ³Doctrine of Enlightened
Self-Interest.² What he was referring to, and something we would all do well
to ponder, is the acquisition of knowledge and the development of the skills
that will enable us to be successful and productive human beings. The
essence of what he was saying can be summed up in three key words. These
words that have been highlighted are 1. We have to Know. 2. We have to Be 3.
We have to Serve. First, we have to know, that is, to have the proper
knowledge, the necessary experience, the right expertise and develop the
right skills to excel, in whatever we choose to do in life.
Next, we have to Be, that is, we must possess the right character values
that will carry us through the good times and the bad, to be able to relate
to other people in a way that brings lasting credit to our good name and
lets others know that our word is our bond. In short, our life must be a
classic example of what integrity is all about. People with integrity always
do the right thing, even if it costs them money. We either have it or we
And finally, we have to Serve, that is, to truly understand in the very
depths of our soul, that the only way to truly succeed over the long haul is
to serve the customer, or the one who pays our salary, better than the
competition. There have been millions of words written about this subject,
but the person or company who succeeds best, is the one who serves best, and
thatÕs the bottom line for the entire American Free Enterprise System.
(Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You
may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)