Some people have what they call their “bucket list.” I am not too sure what this is all about but it seems to me it is a list of things people would like to do before they “kick the bucket.” Me, I do not plan to kick any bucket as long as I am alive. I have other targets for my kicking.

I understand that the general concept is there are things people would like to do before they die and I suppose everyone has their own list. But I have too many things on my “to-do-list” from the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. I affectionately refer to this as the “kick my butt list.”

As long as I have been married, and it has been longer than I can remember, you would think I would have come to grips with this dynamic in the marriage relationship. To a certain extent, I have. I do certain things without asking any questions or even complaining, at least out loud. What I say under my breath is between me and myself.

Sometimes we, me and myself, get into significant arguments. The problem is, I never know if me is winning or myself? In one case, there was a tie, but I cannot recall what it was about.

Lately, I have come up with a novel tactic in dealing with this scenario. It came to me quite by accident. You know how it is, you think of something to say, but usually the day after you needed to say it. I have great comebacks to everything I hear except the fact that the comebacks are usually a day late and a phrase too short.

I hate it when I am driving down and think of what I should have said. I have a whole list of what I should have said to certain people but it is too late and there is nothing I can do about it.

Recently I hit the target. (I just hope my identity has not been hacked!)

It was one day last week when my wife looked at me and said in one of those tones, “Have you taken out the garbage?” She is always surprising me with questions related to things she has asked me to do. My problem is my attention span is about as long as my memory. Personally, I think she takes advantage of me in this area.

I looked at her with one of my infamous dummified faces. She responded, “You did not take out the garbage, did you? You never do what I ask you to do.”

Without thinking, and I mean it quite literally, I quipped, “Well, I’ve never robbed a bank… yet!”

Where that came from, I will never know. To my recollection, I have never even thought about robbing a bank. I do not know where I would start in the first place.

With an astonished look my wife responded, “What bank have you been thinking of robbing?”

It worked beautifully. I did not think it would work as well as it did because I did not put any forethought into this. However, it did get her off the topic at hand. For the next several moments, all she could talk about was me robbing a bank and the horrific trouble we would be in if caught.

Any individual successful in life needs to be able to put forth the proper words. For me, I found the right words.

Coming in the door the other day I was greeted with, “Did you get the quart of milk I asked you to get when you left this morning?”

Without thinking, which is the beauty of this strategy, I responded by saying, “No, and I haven’t robbed a bank yet, either.”

Only one problem with this kind of victory. Who can I brag to about it? I cannot tell my wife because then I could not use it anymore. It is awful to have something that you cannot share with your significant other. I am not sure how long I can keep this secret.

The only thing I can do at this point is to smile. And boy, have I been smiling lately.

No matter what she throws my way, I respond by smiling and saying, “And I haven’t robbed a bank yet, either.”

Is it possible to have too much fun? I mean, as a husband?

All my life I have tried to get the upper hand and all my life I have not succeeded only to shake hands with myself. Until now, that is. How long it will last is anybody’s guess. I’m just not guessing at this point.

Sometimes people get depressed about all the things they have done in life. Some are pretty bad things. Occasionally, it is good to think about all the things you have not done. I may not be as good as I should be but then again, I am not as bad as I could be, either. Leastways, I have never robbed a bank.

Thinking about this I was reminded of what the apostle Paul said. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5).

Thankfully, my salvation is not built upon what I can do, but upon what He has already done for me.


The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship in Ocala, Fla. Call him at (866) 552-2543 or e-mail His web site is

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