When I fly, the first thing I usually do is grab one of those “Sky” magazines (or whatever iteration is available on that particular airline). I quickly thumb through it until I find the crossword puzzle which is usually in the back somewhere. I often complete the puzzle before we’re in the air. They’re not exactly the New York Times Sunday edition puzzles if you know what I mean.
My last flight was no exception. I grabbed the Sky and went straight to the puzzle. This time, someone on a prior flight had gotten to it before me. I hate when that happens. It wasn’t so bad, however, because this person was obviously not a crossword aficionado. He (or she) had left a lot of blanks, and the ones they had filled in were done in very light pencil. I really couldn’t read their answers unless I really strained my eyes. So, I grabbed my pen and went straight to town.
My Predecessor Was Incorrect
The thing that’s so memorable about this particular puzzle was clue #52 across. The clue simply read, “Nosy sort.” The answer was an easy one for anyone who has been doing these things for as long as I have—“snoop.” My predecessor had gotten it wrong.
Beside the clue, she had written, “our neighbor.” I thought that was pretty funny and chuckled to myself. But when I went to fill in the blanks, I noticed she had written in the name, “Gladys.” It was one too many letters, but it made me laugh out loud.
I don’t know who filled this in, but I now know something about them. They have a nosy neighbor by the name of Gladys. It makes me wonder if her last name is Kravitz or if my predecessor was just a big fan of Bewitched. Either way, it added a little spice to my crossword experience for that flight.
Gladys Kravitz Lives
We all have characters like Gladys in our lives. Some of them are snoops. Others are whiny. Even others are just plain annoying. Sometimes I think the Lord places these people in our pathways just to build a little character inno us as well. All these folks help us to see examples of what we don’t want to be like. They’re little reminders of how we can affect others if we’re not careful. I suspect most of us have a bit of Gladys Kravitz deep down inside us somewhere.
We have a tendency to really dislike those people. Sometimes, we despise them. They have traits and characteristics that bring us dismay. We’d like to take them and shake them. But the fact is, we’re no different. Oh, maybe our flaws are somewhat dissimilar, but they are flaws never-the-less.
While we find some to be irritating, there are others out there who think the same of us. Something about us rubs someone the wrong way. Who? Me? Yes, you! Get the plank out of your own eye before you complain about the speck in your neighbor’s.
[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]