– The Man who got Ahead of Himself

Once upon a time, there was a man who got ahead of himself. He used to get so far ahead of himself that, for example, if he was writing this story it would say, Once pon u a time, there was a man who got ahead of himself.

He was always thinking about what he was going to do in five minutes time, ten minutes time, half an hour. It caused problems.

When he went to the toilet he would think about getting dressed, so he’d pull his pyjama bottoms up instead of down. He thought he was putting his work clothes on. Oops.

He’d have poo in his pants instead of in the toilet bowl. It was a big problem.

He would pour himself a bowl of cereal. Fruit Loops were his favourite and then he’d think about the lovely clean dishes he would have after he washed them, and instead of shovelling his cereal into his mouth, he poured it down the sink.


It was a big problem.

It would clog up the sink.

And he was hungry.

It was even worse when he decided to be healthy and was eating muesli or porridge. The man who used to get ahead of himself could never get a hold of himself.

Now, what does that mean?

It means he didn’t know if he was coming or going. He didn’t know if he was Martha or Arthur, and his name was Jim, so he obviously wasn’t either. He didn’t know if he could do anything right, and it didn’t seem that he could.




He had a remote control for the door of the garage. When he was coming back from the shops, or work (though he often caught the bus) he would press the button on the remote control and the garage door would go up.

Sitting in the driveway, he would then remind himself that he had to press the remote again to close the door once he had driven into the garage. Then he would think,

Well, why not just bring the door down now to save time?

He’d start the car, and press the remote, and, yep, you guessed it! The garage door would come down on top of the car of the man who got ahead of himself and he almost became the man who beheaded himself!

It was a big problem.

What could he do?


He tied a string around his finger because he heard somewhere that it was meant to help with memory, though he wasn’t sure quite how it worked, and then he forgot about it.

One evening at 6 o’clock, the man who was ahead of himself was going to walk his dog, Mimi. The only problem was that Mimi was ahead of herself too.  She fetched her leash, and as the door was open (because the man who was ahead of himself had been thinking of walking his dog since the early morning) she took herself out and around the block.

The man who was ahead of himself had already begun to think about what he would watch on television once he returned from his walk, so he plumped up the cushions of the sofa, got a beer and snacks, switched on his programme and settled in. Mimi returned in half an hour and curled up next to the man who was ahead of himself, because she thought she had already eaten and didn’t need to pester her owner for food.

Well, you can imagine what happened when this pattern repeated itself more than just once. Mimi grew very, very, very skinny, and the man who got ahead of himself grew very, very, very fat.

It was a problem.


One morning the man who got ahead of himself scratched his head as he wondered how Mimi had slimmed down so,  and the string attached to his finger dangled in front of his eyes. He patted her and scratched his own very round belly. He noticed the dog’s ribs. Now, that wouldn’t do. And he noticed his own belly. How did that happen? He’d been going for walks every day, hadn’t he? Or had he?

That day, when he came home, he took out a large ball of string, and he tied one end to his finger and the other end to the dog’s leash. When the dog picked up its leash and started to take herself for a walk, guess what happened?

The man was sitting on the couch, ready to watch television. At first he only felt a little twitch in his finger, then it became more insistent, then he realized if he didn’t follow the string that was tied around his finger, he might be without a finger! That would be a problem. He jumped off the couch and followed the string.

He rolled the string into a ball as he walked along and he soon caught up with Mimi. He saw she had the leash in her mouth, but no owner.

Where was her owner? That’s right! It was him. So he followed the string to the leash, then he gently took it out of his dog’s mouth while Mimi sat there on the footpath, tail wagging. He clipped it to her collar and they went walking together.

You might think Mimi would be happy to have so much freedom, but it can be tough for a dog to always take care of herself. She was happy they were walking together.

They walked past the park, and the shop, around the block and back to the house. The man who got ahead of himself almost threw the poop bags into the bin without any poop in them, but then he looked at the string around his finger, and he remembered that he had to wait for his dog to poop. And she did. Very ladylike poops. Mimi was a lady, after all. And the man picked it up. And disposed of it, in the right place at the right time.


When they got home, the man who usually got ahead of himself almost sat right back down on the couch – Mimi was already there, all curled up – but then he caught sight of the string, and he opened up a can of food for her, and put the bowl on the floor, and called her over. Mimi jumped up! She’d almost forgotten what food tasted like. She ran over and gobbled everything up in a few seconds.

The man looked at the string and thought what else might he have to do? Well, he needed a shower, but then he’d have to take off the string, and he might never get anything done again. He was sure he would improve. That he wouldn’t need the string forever, but right now he did.

He didn’t need it to be quite so long, though. So he cut it so that just a small piece of string dangled from his finger. Now, how was he going to bathe?

The man who used to get ahead of himself got a plastic bag, which he wrapped over the string he had tied to his finger. It was a see-through bag so he could still check the string so that he’d remember what he was doing. He decided to have a bath and he filled it up with bubbles, and Mimi sat just outside listening as the man who used to get ahead of himself sang a song all the way through from beginning to end. Usually he only sang the last two words.


The next day the man had no trouble going to the toilet, or getting dressed, or eating breakfast, or feeding Mimi. She was so grateful. Well, you can imagine, can’t you? When he came home, he waited to park his car before he closed the garage door, and he took Mimi for a walk around the block and to the park, and now that she had eaten something, she enjoyed running through the grass.

He picked up the poo at the right time with the right bag and put it in the right bin. He ate dinner at the right time and fed the dog again, and got ready to have a shower and that was when he noticed that he didn’t have the string.


All of a sudden he wondered if he should be stepping into the bath or out of it. If he had to rinse shampoo from his hair or put it in? Was he getting dressed, or undressed? Then he heard a sound. Mimi. Mimi was barking. The man who got ahead of himself bent down to see what the problem was and the dog licked his hands, his face and wagged her tail. She walked away from him, and he stood and followed her to the kitchen.

At the table, she stopped and pointed her snout upwards. There was the Fruit Loops packet. Well, he didn’t stop being a slob just because he stopped being in such a rush. His empty bowl was still there too, and the string was resting in the pool of milk down the bottom. Mimi, barked again. She looked over at her bowl. Was it time to feed her? But no, the man thought he remembered feeding her – and he saw two empty cans on the sideboard, and he knew he had.

Mimi picked up the leash and put it by his feet and sniffed out the shelf where the poo bags were kept.

Did she want to go out, was that it? It didn’t seem to be. He walked to the door and opened it, but she just stood behind him peering out at the very dark night. Then he looked at the sky a little longer. It wasn’t so dark after all. There were beautiful stars clustering the sky. He looked down at Mimi.

“I fed you, right, girl?”


“And I walked you, and picked up your poo, and fed you dinner, too.”

“Ruff! Ruff!”

He looked at the string in the puddle of milk. It had been there since breakfast.

“And I pulled my trousers down to go to the toilet, and I dressed in the right clothes, and I didn’t wash my bowl of cereal down the sink, and I waited to park my car before I closed the garage door.”

Mimi danced around and around, yipping and yapping.

“You’re getting a little fat, girl. And I’m slimming down.”

I didn’t need that piece of string today, he thought to himself.

“Maybe I don’t need that piece of string tomorrow,” he said to Mimi.

She wagged her tail. No he didn’t


He went back to the shower, turned it on, stepped inside, wet his hair and shampooed it Then he sang another song from beginning to end.

Mimi had liked the man who always got ahead of himself. Of course she did – but he left her very hungry, very often. She liked the man who never got ahead of himself even better. He was still singing. Mimi started to howl. She hoped she was in tune.

theheartbeatsoftly/ park rose (c) 2011
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6 Comments on “– The Man who got Ahead of Himself”

  1. Jane Says:

    Awww, Sue, Love the story. Everything a child loves, a puppy, poopy pants and a confused adult! You know kids always like poop and fart stories. Also love the pics of Elroy, I bet he misses you! Or are you the girl who got ahead of herself??? Naw, Elroy is much too chubby.

    • theheartbeatsoftly Says:

      Thanks, Jane! Elroy is chunky, I think, not chubby! We say, “all muscle”. I do miss him. I think “I’m the woman who lagged behind” rather than any of the above scenarios 😉

  2. Kelly Says:

    Gorgeous! I loved it. xxx

  3. someone somewhere Says:

    I think I can hear the sound of a new door opening. Nice work.

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