SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


'Dumb list' for work-at-home crowd
Scripps Howard News Service


May 09, 2006
Tuesday AM

I read an article recently called "Dumb Money Moves People Make" that listed stupid things you can do to wreck your home finances.

Most of the "dumb moves" centered on being careless with personal identification numbers or other financial information, leaving one susceptible to identity theft. Very good advice, but that wasn't what grabbed me.

As a writer, I was more interested in the way the article was put together. "Dumb Money Moves" is a pretty catchy way to get the reader's attention, and most people love lists. It's a construction you see all the time:

"Top 10 Dieting Mistakes"

"Twelve Ways Smart Women Sabotage Relationships"

"The 15 Worst Mistakes You Can Make on the Job"

"Twenty Errors to Avoid When Invading a Country in the Middle East"

"Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover"

"Eighty-Seven Stupid Things Guys Say in Bars"

Such lists appeal because they allow us to laugh at the foibles of others while secretly checking our own behavior to see whether we've made any "dumb moves" lately.

Never one to pass up an easy format, I decided to write my own list, pegged to my usual territory: housework and home repairs and working from a home office.

Here, then, are the:

Top 20 dumb moves you can make around the house:

1. Try to "do it yourself," particularly if the job involves electric current and/or power tools. Before you know it, you'll have fewer digits than when you started and/or a hairdo like boxing promoter Don King.

2. Play with fire. Yes, fire is warm and pretty, but one minor slip near the drapes and - poof! - you're homeless.

3. Adjust the TV antenna or satellite dish during a lightning storm. Better reception soon will be the least of your worries.

4. Start the wrong kind of home-based business. Some pursuits - fish storage, fireworks assembly, telemarketing - are too hazardous for the home, and may violate zoning laws.

5. Any chore involving ladders.

6. Invite over friends who knew you before you were married and who want to regale your spouse with "fun" stories about your wild and crazy dating days. (See "Play with fire" above.)

7. Gullibly believe decorating magazines when they say home improvement projects are "easy" or "fast" or "cheap."

8. Phone sex. Your spouse will find those credit-card bills. Guaranteed.

9. Plant a "cash crop" in your back yard. Your neighbors will rat you out to the proper authorities.

10. Ignore the warnings on powerful cleaning products. Skip the rubber gloves, and your friends soon will call you "Lobster Boy."

11. Allow teenage boys to live under your roof. The only faster way to bring down property values is to house a randy tomcat.

12. Two words: Indoor trampoline.

13. Carefully file each and every piece of paper in your home office. That's just asking for a tornado.

14. Take out a home equity loan to pay for luxuries or vacations. That little gift to yourself will turn out to be the "gift that keeps on giving" for the next 30 years.

15. Answer the phone when you're in the middle of an argument with your spouse.

16. Answer the door to accept delivery of a subpoena.

17. Answer the door in your underwear.

18. Mow the lawn in your underwear.

19. Run over metal sprinkler heads with the lawn mower. Trust me on this.

20. Start a home business as a "writer."



Redding, Calif., author Steve Brewer's latest book is called "Bank Job."
Contact him at ABQBrewer(at)
Distributed to subscribers for publication by Scripps Howard News Service.

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Ketchikan, Alaska