Ben… A Recovering Idiot (who often relapses) Friend of many (or so he thinks) Foe of one, two or maybe a few (hundred) Grandfather of twelve (and not a bad one in the bunch) Father of six (that he's been notified of) Married for 38 long, arduous and worthwhile years (readers of The Book all agree it’s a miracle) Husband of one (which is fairly unusual for a Mormon) Jack of no trades (and master of none) Inventor (who’s not that successful but keeps the bills paid) Dodged certain death at least 5 (00 times) Broke 27 bones (and wondering which one will fail next) Missing only two fingers (and had just one lobotomy up to this point) Over the hill (and can’t remember if he was ever really on top) Legal owner of Michele and this blog (his favorite?...depends on the day)


It’s a bit of an understatement to say that I’ve had some close calls. The same with head injuries. This morning I had another of each.

To lay the groundwork, last Saturday I had a corn leak out of the grain tube pictured above. It’s 50+ feet in the air. The leak was about 8 feet above the top of the bin. The corn was flying out so I moseyed up to the top. I stood a ten-foot step ladder resting upside down on the angle iron steps bolted on the bin. That was the only way I could stand it up. I then noticed I had forgotten my safety harness.

I had a chain so I wrapped it around my chest, gingerly climbed the ladder and fixed the tube. Shown below is corn flying out of the tube hole and my safety-chain harness before I made the ascent:


So this morning I was on top another bin with this same chain holding a weighty tube suspended inside the bin. The chain was looped over the top rail of my man lift and hooked into another link in a suspect, substandard and very questionable manner. I had the thought that I should hook it better. I also thought I should go get my safety harness on since I was kneeling and trying to position the heavy tube while looking down the center hole at the top of the bin. I knew if something went awry, it would be curtains. As in funeral home curtains.

I dismissed the idea of retrieving the safety harness as a waste of time.

A minute or two later, I heard a scary noise similar to that of a chain that has just unhooked itself and is flying around the country looking for a convex forehead that could be transitioned into a concave forehead. I would estimate 5/100ths of a second later, the hook on the end of the chain that had just detached reached out and gave me a solid left hook as it flew by.

I’ve been knocked out cold 6 or 8 times in my life. Lucky for my temporal housing and the ground below, I didn’t go completely out. From past experience I can certify I was in borderline la-la land. If I had ventured into la-la land, the impact with the ground 40 feet below would have never been felt.

The whammy was pretty painful. On a scale of 1-10 it was an 8.96. Believe me, I am very familiar with the pain scale and am usually right on with my estimates.

So I am on my knees at the top of the bin, reeling back from the hammerhead impact. I vaguely remember steering my reeling shadow toward the man lift that the chain had just exited. I slumped onto the floor of the man lift and stayed busy counting stars long after the chain had landed on the bin floor 40 feet below. I’m pretty sure I heard it laughing in glee at the sucker punch it had just landed.

Finally, I pulled my way up to a slumped-over but standing position. I looked straight down and bled on the control panel for a bit. In some perverse thought process, I imagined the drops of blood would testify to the next man lift operator about how tough the last man lift operator was. Now that I’m thinking more clear, it’s more of a testament of what an idiot I am.

I felt like there was a good chance I was going to lose consciousness before I made it to the ground. I also was nauseous and feeling like I was going to toss my cookies any second.

When I finally touched down on earth’s beloved surface, I remembered my blog so I snapped a picture.


Now this doesn’t look all that bad. (At least the injury, anyway.) And there’s really not a whole lot I can do about the rest.

But the blood is not from a cut. It is from an impact blow right between the eyes. I would estimate that chain hook was gravitating along at about 70 mph just before the world started looking cross-eyed to me.  I made my way home in my totaled pickup in a blurry dash, trying to land in my driveway before I threw up or lost consciousness.

I made it.

Most wives would be horrified. The majority of them would ask if they should call 911. My wife looked at me square in the eye (I’m not sure which one because things were still a little foggy) and said “You’re ending your day kind of early, aren’t you?”

Eight hours later, I have severe pain from my left outside eyebrow to my right outside eyebrow and back again. If I chew, I experience a sharp pain between the two brows. I guess I need to look on the bright side. If the pain stays around for a few weeks, food consumption will diminish and I might lose a few pounds.

And then to top it all off, I got a picture back from a doctor in Boise that just bought my book. I think he is making fun of my bald head.



Will is my boy that was on Jeopardy for two nights a few years ago. It was pretty exciting. Just making the preliminary cut was miraculous! You can read all about the story in my book. It was a kick in the pants! He won 10 grand which makes my $500 blog prize look like peanuts.

Which, by the way, this morning I just spun out another lucky name.

Ed Carnes

Ed, if you have signed up as a follower of my blog and shared a blog post or the link, you just won yourself $500. Let me know, Eddie!

I’m getting worn out trying to give this wad of cash away. I know I could change the rules and just draw or pick a Recovering Idiot blog follower but would that be right? That would be changing the rules in the middle of the game.

For instance, let’s say next week’s winning pick signed up as a follower and sharer this coming Monday. If I changed the rules and someone else won, the game could theoretically be branded a fraud, “fixed by Ben” and a scam because I switched horses in the middle of the stream.

So far, 16 of my Facebook friends could have won $500 but nobody took the extra baby steps of …….

I’ve picked up a bunch of blog followers as this contest has plodded along and am perplexed that one of them hasn’t had the lucky draw.

I would really like to get this 500 dollar prize put to bed.

So back to Will. Here’s Will and I on the Jeopardy! set after the taping.


Here’s Michele and I on TV at the end of the show. (Notice the watch Michele is wearing that she bought with Will’s earnings.)


And for any who are interested, here’s the two shows Will was on. Sorry about the poor video quality. Before you forget, sign up as a blog follower and share the link. You could be the one who wins the 500 bucks next Saturday if Ed isn’t eligible this week. You can be a winner or a loser. You decide.

Will’s Jeopardy link

This week’s Recovering Idiot book orders include the safety director from Morgancorpa large company that makes truck bodies for outfits like Penske and U-Haul. Another order is for a doctor in Boise.

And speaking of doctors, Dr. Christine Bouril called me this week, asking for advice. She’s the one I had the experience with (page 496) but never filled her in on the facts at the time. When she called the other day, I informed her of all the facts. I was a little relieved that instead of being offended, she laughed and laughed.

My  wife posted this on our family website yesterday: “A friend just sent me this picture from her bookshelf–a combination of two of her kids’ favorite books…”






I drew two potential $500 winners today. Results are at the bottom of the page.

I think I messed up.  I’m sure by looking at this picture you’ll understand my predicktamint.

This pic is of me and my grandson Sammy.  For the past year I’ve been trying to come up with a unique, cheap, and original yet classy way to market my book. The solution popped into my head last week. So what I’m wondering is…did I do it right? Or should I have gone for a full color tat? The black ink price was a lot cheaper but now I’m think that it looks, well…cheap.

When I was a kid, once every two or three years, I would see somebody, usually an old retired Navy vet, with a tattoo on one of his arms. I didn’t understand why a guy would want to look like a permanent cancelled postage stamp.

As the last decade or so has flown by, I’ve been more and more stymied as wave after wave of mostly younger non-Navy types have enlisted for the stamped and cancelled look.

I  don’t get it. If I wear my favorite shirt more than 3 days in a row, the people I see every day start griping about my lack of wardrobe creativity. Even I get tired of seeing the same threads as days go by.

Because of this reality, I found it hard not to shake my head when I saw guys and dolls with never-leaving colored ink plastered on their appendages, trunks and head quarters.

And then, if the tattoo dude messes up, the problem multiplies.


Instead of dealing with all the other pressures that come with mortal existence, I’m afraid my life would be centered around buying only long-sleeved shirts and talking to the doc about skin grafts or maybe even an amputation.

And then there’s the piercing. I never saw holes punched in bodies except for minuscule holes on women who wore earrings. Now, everywhere I go, I feel like I’m looking through an old National Geographic with page after page of tribal natives who have unfathomable holes in punched in various and sundry parts of their body.

Everywhere I go, I see metal and jewels clanging around or riveted into skin at various locals.

It is hard enough for me to blow my nose, clear my sinuses or wash my face without a ring, bead or pin complicating things. I’ve had pneumonia nine or ten times. This requires a sinus and nose clearing on a regular basis. I can’t imagine trying to maneuver around hardware every time I need to attend to a body part.

But now that I’ve mortgaged our home to finance my book-promoting tat, I hope book sales will increase enough that I can buy a plywood sander. I’m pretty sure it will take most of the forehead ink off and maybe even sand down a few wrinkles. Once I get the process perfected, I’ll call my son Derek and get him working on patenting the process.

I conducted another drawing today. I’m tired of drawing non-winners, one of them getting drawn TWICE! So tired that I switched random number-generator sites in hopes the new site would be more successful.

The first number was 45 which went to one of my relatives. She’s the daughter of a cousin of mine. Her name is Jackie Anderson. However, I don’t think she’s an eligible winner as she quit doing Facebook awhile back and is probably not one of my blog followers. If I’m wrong, let me know, Jackie, and I’ll spring for the $500.

So I spun the wheel again. 860 popped up. Marian Royall from Kodiak Alaska was the pick. I don’t know how Marian became my Fb friend. It doesn’t look like we have any friends in common but there must have been some connection along the way. Marian, if you are one of my blog followers, let me know and I’ll send you 500 bucks.

As I count through my facebook friends each week to find the winning name, I noticed so many names that I would really like to land on. A few of them could really use the dough. Most of them are really good friends who I could relate a story or two about as I handed over the cash.

A few of them have died. If they were blog followers before they checked out, I guess I’d have to give the money to their kids.

I’ve got one or two Fb friends that I’ve gotten crosswise with over the years. As I glide across their names in my hunt for the winning name, each time I’ve wondered if I would hand them the cash if they truly won. Each time this happens, I decide that of course I would! This way when the so-and-so hit the pearly gates, I could give this example to Saint Pete that at least one time in my life I did the honest and upright thing. I handed cash over to someone that I could very easily have skipped.

And then again, if their name popped up as the weekly winner, I really doubt they would be a blog follower. So I guess the decision would not be all that hard. But at least Peter can look down and scroll through this blog and see that I’m a man of my word.

I want to make sure no one gets hurt by me slipping them through the cracks of no-cash due to my love of money.



I’m swamped with corn drying and work right now so I’ll throw out a little tidbit until Saturday when I do my darndest to give away five-hundred smackers. Read the rules on the blog menu. I’ll throw out a little family happenings until Saturday’s post.

I’ve got a brother that farmed back in the day. Things didn’t go all that great. Bad stuff like weather, market prices and bankers. Being a brother to me probably didn’t help.

So after a stint with 70 acres of asparagus and an orchard full of apples and cherries, he bagged the farming itch until he could afford to get back in it at a later time and lose some more money.

He next sold life insurance. I bought a policy from him. My wife is still waiting to collect. She agreed to me buying it because she thought she would be collecting right away. She grumbles every time she writes out a check for another premium.

Back to brother Brent. He hated the cold calls and getting doors slammed in his face. After several broken noses, he quit that gig too. Looking around at other dead-end jobs, he ended up at the bottom of the barrel and worked for me for a bit. It didn’t take him long to see that he had just gotten on a slow train to Loserville. I’ve been on that train for decades and it seems like I got there pretty darn fast.

He sensed he was at a critical crossroads in life. And so…

He did a quick about-face, scooped up his four young’uns and his drop-dead gorgeous wife, loaded up the truck and they moved to Beverly.  Hills, that is, swimming pools, movie stars, I mean, Buffalo, New York. At thirty-five years of age, he switched careers for the fourth time and went to dental school.

Ten years or twelve years later, they’re back. And there’s eight of them now whereas there were six when they left. It is so handy to have him around. Every time I need another tooth pulled, I just drop in and say howdy. In order to say howdy, I have to open my mouth. When I open my mouth, he stares at the void and says: “I think we better pull that sucker.”

I don’t mind because it’s pretty cheap dental service. All it costs me is a tooth.

He learned to do this free service as part of his schooling. He would go to the hills of Kentucky and Virginny and pull teeth. People would come in with a mouthful of rotten calcium and leave with a mouthful of straight oxygen. He said they appreciated the service.

Brent’s wife is named Kashann. This is a true story…

Kashann had a wrist support and asked Brent to carefully unwrap it and take it off. As he did, several times she said “Be careful! Watch out!”

I figured she was in pain from his unwrapping. Finally, she said “Brent, you’ve got to be careful! Don’t you see the dog crap on my fingers?”

She had been working in the yard and had come in contact with some dog doo doo. She wanted the medical wrap removed so she could wash the stuff off but had neglected to tell Brent why she wanted him to remove it so carefully.

Stuff like this goes on all the time at their house.

And then there’s Calvin and my second post about him…

Brent told me when Calvin was three, he went around the house and wedged coins in between electrical plugs and wall sockets. The coins were suspended above where electrical plugs were plugged in.

He especially enjoyed donating pennies and dimes as his sisters were vacuuming.

When someone would pull the plug out, the coin would drop down and short out between the two prongs. There would be a big spark which tripped the breaker just after the plug-puller got a good scare. It left a black mark on the wall plate. Calvin must have considered the burn marks his trophies throughout the house.

How in the world would a three-year old dream this trick up? The answer lies in the Brent/Kashann gene pool. Their kids have this unique pool all to themselves. I think Calvin stayed in the pool way too long.

Earlier this year, Brent was trying to lay poly pipe out and having a tough time. I told him he should use one of my inventions. He agreed and here is the result with Calvin doing his best to be part of the action.


If you aren’t signed up as a blog Follower, do it now in case your name gets drawn Saturday.

Or, miss out on the bag of dough.


If you haven’t read my first post about Calvin, here it is…

Calvin The First




Last Saturday, September 23, I used my trusty random number generator to pick a possible $500 winner and the number produced was 1542. I usually take a picture of the number just so I have proof for the doubters. However, last week I didn’t, mainly because corn harvest is here and I’ve got my hands full drying thousands of tons of corn.

The girl who matched up with the number 1542 was Sara Bleazard. She didn’t seem all that excited or concerned about it because she hasn’t followed the blog. Maybe the reason is because I heard she is in Paris right now.

So this morning I cranked up my random number generator and it spit out the number 111 out of 1931 friends. I counted Facebook friends to number 111 and guess what? Sara Bleazard!

I was totally shocked. Facebook must mix my Friends list up every minute or two because she’s not in my friends list twice and yet on succeeding weeks, she won the draw with far different numbers.

I’m wondering what the odds are of getting picked twice in a row out of 1931 numbers spit out from a random generator? I would guess somewhere around one in twenty bazillion. If there’s any statisticians out there, let me know what the odds are!

Some of you might gripe that I’m making this stuff up and lying through my teeth. I swear on a stack of old Book of Mormons that I am not. I really want to draw a winner, write a check and move on to the next contest.

Speaking of old Book of Mormons, did you know that the most money ever paid for a book occurred just a couple of weeks ago? It was for a Book of Mormon and went for 35 million dollars. The previous high price was for a Leonardo da Vinci book purchased by Bill Gates in 1994 for 31 million.

This incident is just one of several reasons the Book of Mormon can be a very valuable book. On the other hand, you can also get one for free.  Free Book of Mormon

Speaking of winners, you might remember that Dedie May was the winner of my Corvette for a week. She notified me that she lives in Utah and would take the money I offered in case the winner couldn’t get to the Vette. I sent her the check for fifty bucks.

Sara Bleazard needs to get stocked up on Lotto tickets right now.

From her response last week, I’m almost sure that she didn’t sign up as a Recovering Idiot Follower. If that’s the case, this is the second week in a row that she’s missed out on 500 bucks. But I better go through the motions. Sara, if you are a blog follower and link sharer, let me know.

Because I’m so busy with corn harvest, I would like to get this 500 dollar prize put to bed.  If Sara IS NOT eligible in this go-round and this date, I’m going to draw another number and they will be the weekly pick but only if Sara is still not eligible.

That number is 325. Lois Mitchell is that number at this time. Let me know if you’re one of my blog followers, Lois!

Lois was my seminary teacher (back in the 70’s, church instruction before school) when I was a freshman and sophomore in high school. Even though I know I was a brat, she told me much later that the only time she got really mad at me was when I started spraying the fire extinguisher at other kids in the hallway.

Lois is also the mother of one of my good friends, Don Mitchell. Don has worked for me 28 years now. The man is a saint.


Here’s a picture of Don from a couple of weeks ago. We had just finished building a much-desired propane tank mover. I’ve spent 20 years and 10 different designs before coming up with this unit. If the development costs were tallied up for our efforts over the last 20 years on all the devices we’ve produced in trying to come up with a design that worked, it would be in the hundreds of thousands. And we work cheap

I’ll share the story of this gizmo one of these days when I have a little more time.

I love Lois and Don.

If Lois is not signed up as a blog follower, what are you waiting for? Get signed up! Become familiar with the rules in the Win $500 menu heading. Your name might be the name drawn next week!