#atozchallenge: Inept

Inept is one of those words that, if you take the prefix off, the remaining word isn’t really a word. A klutz is inept, but you don’t say that a skilled, graceful person is ept. Call someone "ept" and people look at you funny.

I think it’s safe to say that practically all of us, at one time or another, has been especially bad at something. Comically bad, in fact.

When I was in high school, one of the units we had in PE was swimming. As I mentioned the other day, I can’t swim, not even to save my life. The first day of class, we were told to dive (or jump) into the deep end of the pool and swim to the other end. When it was my turn, I jumped into the water and began to thrash about until one of the teachers dived in and saved my life. I got about five feet. When they divided us up by swimming ability, they gave each group a name. We were the Anchors. I don’t feel too badly: most of the football guys were Anchors as well. Made a couple of big friends that year.

I also inherited my father’s ability to do simple home repair. Dad didn’t know which end of a screwdriver to use, and I was in the same boat. I had no business buying a house, because I was totally inept at just about everything. I’m also a terrible painter. When we bought the house, Mary made two rules: no power tools, and no paint.

Ineptitude is not just physical. Sometimes you get up in front of a group to speak, and you immediately freeze. That’s not that unusual: they say that speaking to a group is one of the most common phobias, right after standing in a train station stark naked. There’s a group called Toastmasters that helps people with their public speaking. One of the things they tell you is to picture the people you’re speaking to in their underwear. That would leave me terrified.

Feel free to share in the comments things at which you are inept…

41 thoughts on “#atozchallenge: Inept

    1. All too often, they weren’t written by someone who knew English very well. Mary had a knitting machine years ago, and there was an assembly instruction “attach rid.” She was all “what’s the rid?” Then she took a look at the picture, and saw that it was the LID…


    1. We’re all blessed with certain talents. It’s good to know which ones you weren’t blessed with to avoid a major disaster. Although there are times when you don’t have a choice and have to do the best you can, and you can really surprise yourself…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m glad they saved you! I am very inept in anything sports-total opposite of my brother. When I had to go skating, in grade school, the only way I knew how to stop was hit into the boards. I run like a girl too. I also suck in singing. The only ones who sing with me are the cats in heat..wait, that doesn’t sound right.


    1. I’m glad they saved me, too.

      Skating was another thing I was okay with going forward, not so good in reverse. I never quite got them tight enough, either and I had bad ankles (at least not good enough for skating). There are plenty of things you do quite well, though. Don’t sell yourself short…


  2. Ohh, Toastmasters! I remember when I was a teen, my dad took my brother and me to a couple of their meetings, we even got invited to talk about any topic we wanted to improvise. It was great but scary, they even invited us to join their teen group, but we were both too introvert to like it.
    SWIMMING! yep, my nemesis. I could never learn to swim, maybe because I get pretty anxious when water touches my face, even in the shower.
    Another thing in which I might be totally inept is in keeping a pristine clean house. Really, everyone seemed to have a spotless home (and work and raise kids) save me. I already gave up, and I just laugh when the dogs throw all the sofa pillows to play “the floor is lava”. I´m not slovenly, I just prefer to spend my time writing or playing with my kids.


  3. Yay for Toastmasters. I love public speaking. I know ppl don’t but it’s awesome. Especially when you get a laugh. Well an intended laugh of course.


  4. So much I can relate to in this post. I couldn’t swim either, but then I took swimming in college to fulfill a required P.E. credit. I took two quarters for an easy phys ed obligation filled, along with two quarters of bowling. I’ve always hated physical education classes.

    My father was very inept at household or car repairs so he passed virtually nothing on to me. Maybe it was partly because his father died when my father was about 12. I learned a lot of stuff on my own, but skillful I am not. I am more apt to make things worse and then call somebody to fix the problem.

    I was always terrified with speaking in front of the class when I was in school. After I got into entertainment fulltime I became more comfortable with speaking. Once on of our show sponsors invited me to his Toastmasters meeting the day after our show with him. Since I was available I went to the lunch and got up to say a few words about my profession. It wasn’t bad. I’ve given a few public talks since then. Not my favorite thing to do, but now I’m more comfortable with the idea.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out


    1. I was a trainer for all those years, so I’m pretty well a natutral at speaking to groups, but I still get a little nervous about it, which I understand is good. A friend said that you’ll always get butterflies, but you can train them to fly in formation (he had been in the Air Force…)

      I’m not as bad as I make myself sound about home repair. I’ve actually done a few things very well (I’m pretty much an expert at hanging shades). And I was always pretty good doing things with computers, like adding memory, swapping out hard drives, installihg modems and Ethernet cards. I even replaced a CPU years ago.


  5. Personally I think we should start using all those words that seem to have a prefix but don’t exist without one, like ept, combobulate, etc. Could be fun!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’m sure I am inept at many things like public speaking. But I learned how to swim in elementary school as it was a required course. No regrets.


    1. Public speaking is one of those things you have to do a lot of to get really good at. I found that the best trick was to pick someone and speak as though you’re talking to them.

      I learned how to swim after a fashion, which was fine for just playing in the water…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I was inept at public speaking, and my boss required that I join the local Toastmasters club. I did well, but no one ever accused me of being an ept speaker. By the way, it took six tries to keep my iPad from turning that into “pet speaker” – talk about inept.


  8. Nice job on the inept word. You’re not alone in the swimming ability. I wonder how many people actually enjoyed swimming lessons in high school? For me it was when I was in junior high – I jumped in the pool thinking I knew what I was doing and swam horizontally across it as the teacher ran along on the side of the pool yelling at me to stop. I caught glimpses of her as I was swimming and I thought she was cheering me on. It was as horrifying as the really ugly suits the girls had to wear at the time. Thanks for the swim down memory lane!

    Liked by 1 person

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