My Low Emotional Quotient!

By Don Mueller

So if you're so smart, why ain'tcha rich? I'm sure that questions such as that have been lobbed your way by certain people. Actually, it has been proven that in general, Mensans DO hold higher paying jobs than the general populace. But, it's not IQ alone that determines success. It's more how ya use whatcha got! Now we get into various insights about the self-image that you have, knowing your own talents, and so on. Daniel Goleman says skill in handling emotions, not just being smart is what determines success. You know who Daniel is. He's the one who wrote the best-seller, "Emotional Intelligence". The book is in its ninth month as a best seller, and has sold almost 600,000 copies so far. It's worthwhile reading.

That book also explains an earlier title, "Why Smart People Do Dumb Things". I qualify on both counts. I'm smart, and I do dumb things! Since I've highlighted in previous columns the few smart things I've done, and I'm fast running out of material, I'll now tell you some of the dumb things I've done, which should keep my column running into the millennium! These particular stories are my dumb "church" stories, so here we go:


One of my hobbies is playing the keyboard, and I'm fairly proficient at playing piano by ear. As a result, I used to occasionally be the pianist for local melodramas. Our single's group was putting on a melodrama in a church basement, and we spent many hours in rehearsal. One night, before rehearsal, I decided to make a sound test, so that I would have a better idea of what volume levels would be best to play at. For example, would the sound of the piano penetrate the walls or ceiling of that building? So I sent someone to go upstairs and check for acoustic leakage. Then I let loose with the loudest, raunchiest version of the 12th Street Rag that I knew. When the person came back, I said, "Well, could you hear me at all up there?" My spy replied: "Uh, yea, the piano came through the floor loud and clear. But, uh, I have something else to tell you. There's a Lutheran Lenten Service going on right now upstairs." Oops. The pastor told us later that as the people taking communion were going back to their seats, they were "bobbin' with the beat" and "dancing down the aisles" and really getting into the spirit of the thing! Does anybody want an unemployed piano player at their next reception?


Being the dependable guy I am, I end up in all sorts of committees, not to mention various church planning committees. One night we had a long meeting in the church basement of this very large sanctuary. Afterwards, I bid farewell to the fellow members, and to the pastor, as we were departing to leave. While everyone else left the building, I didn't leave immediately. I hadda go. Yep, use a certain room first. Now I was the only one in this dark building. I made my way up the pitch black stairwell to get to the front doors of the church. I finally made it by the Braille method to the front doors, and now I'm fumbling to find where the latches are to get out. One minor problem. When the pastor left, he set the burglar alarm. Suddenly whistles, bells, sirens, and the most gawd-awful racket I've ever heard took place, echoing through the huge sanctuary! Now I think I'm prepared for the second coming, but I wasn't quite ready for it at that very moment! My finding that latch on the door in pitch blackness suddenly gained even more urgency. I finally found it, and ran from that church like a bat, wait a minute.....I'd better use a different a parishioner who had just seen the light! Fortunately, some of the staff in the parking lot knew how to disable the alarm to keep from waking up all of North Denver. Of course, whenever we finish our meetings now, the pastor always asks me if I have to go first. He's so thoughtful!


I used to go to parochial school at this same large church that I talk about in my previous story. Back in the 50s, there was also an old church that was used for classroom space. In the sixth grade, my favorite class was the school band. And at 10am Tuesdays and Thursdays, I would pick up my little clarinet case, leave the classroom in the school building, and walk past the new church, and go into the basement of the old church, where the band rehearsals were being held. One of my fellow band members, a pretty girl who played the flute like an angel, showed me some "nifty" new routes to take on my way to band. My favorite one that she showed me was a pattern that involved going out of the back door of the school building, going into the back door of the new church sanctuary, going through the sanctuary to the front of the church, then going out of the front, then around the corner and into the old church basement. It was the more "scenic" route, and sometimes I was late to band, but hey, it was worth it! One day it was time to go to band. There was something that I didn't know. Nobody gave me a memo on this. There was a funeral scheduled in the new church sanctuary! So I tear out of the back of the school with my clarinet case, go into the back of the New church, charge into the sanctuary. Now the funeral had not yet started, so there was nobody else in the church. Except for the casket. Open. My jog suddenly turned freeze frame. Ever seen a 12 year old kid have a coronary? My planned agenda had not accounted for suddenly confronting a dead body! From that moment on, creative routes were out, I ALWAYS went STRAIGHT to band, got that? Straight, with no deviations whatsoever! And I was always on time, too!

Now it's YOUR turn to tell us some of your stories!

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