The real reason I lost the “100 words or less” challenge. (Embarrassing, but true.) – SCN Encourager

I thought I had it made!

And to think…

Screen Shot 2016-08-25 at 4.12.49 PMI was only seconds away from my big Eureka moment in the “100 words or less” challenge.

While Cindy didn’t think I could write five brief and effective Encouragers in a row last week.

I confidently (AKA foolishly) thought I could.

And I was certain Saturday’s tallies would prove me right.

I was so excited I could hardly sleep Friday evening.

As Cindy slept soundly (and smugly, I might add) about two feet away, I could tell she already had her game plan worked out.

The little sneak.

Since Saturday’s weather early Saturday morning here in Holland (MI) could best be described as  “a downpour,” I used the time indoors to double-check my math.

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 8.55.42 PMYep.
In all five Encouragers I was well under the 100 word limit.

Now, of course, I didn’t count dumb words like “dang” or “speed-kwik.”

Somehow they keep popping up in my writing and I can’t explain why.

So I only counted words that a person of above-average intelligence (like you!) would typically use a blog post.

By only counting words that had meaning and made sense, I was able to drive down my “qualifiable” word count by nearly 70%!

“Hey, Loser! Ready to go for breakfast?” I yelled from the den. “You’re buying, remember? And you thought I’d flop.”

“What?” she answered back while walking toward me from the hallway. “Pull up those Encouragers. I’m going to count the words myself. Did you think I’d just let you proclaim you won? No way.”


Now I had a problem.

And I also must fill you in on the truth.

You see, although Cindy and I talk (a lot!) about what I do as a school communicator, and the kinds of situations we all find ourselves in, and the topics I eventually choose to write about, Cindy has never read one of my Encouragers.

Not even one.

My theory is this.

Because she is the billings and insurance supervisor for a large medical practice in town, she takes privacy to the extreme.

For example, I have friends and extended family members who are patients at this practice, and if they bump into Cindy during an appointment at her office, she’ll never say anything to me about this at all.

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 8.31.20 PMIt’s against the law.

HIPAA standards make our FERPA rules seem like nothing and she’s a momma bear about HIPAA.

Cindy probably feels that if she read my Encouragers, it’d be like peeking into my secret files or something.

Oh sure, once and awhile, Cindy will sometimes ask, “Okay, tell me the truth. How ⊗itchy do you make me look in your blog? Your jokes make me nervous sometimes.”

I always respond by telling her not to worry. All’s good.

“I reference you hardly at all,” I spin. “I’m sure there are no more than a handful of readers who even know I’m married.”

Amazingly, this masterful dodge has kept the lid tightly on my blog activity for more than 4 years and 1100 Encouragers.

Up until Saturday, that is.

It never occurred to me that Cindy would not trust my word count and demand to read what I wrote last week for herself in order to make her own calculations.

Whoa, that could make my life way too interesting!

So you can see why I immediately reversed course; conceded defeat, paid for breakfast at her favorite place, and stopped any further crowing about the “100 words or less” challenge.

Did this make be feel like I wimped out over the weekend?

Yes, it did.

But at least the Encourager survived – and I have a special surprise to tell you about tomorrow.

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