Eat a Frog!



American humorist Mark Twain is reported to have said “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

Basically, this means get your hardest tasks out of the way first.  Since we’re still in the early part of January, I’m hoping I just spent four days getting what will be my hardest task of 2017 out of the way first – a stomach virus of some sort that had me knocked down from Thursday night until Sunday afternoon.  I truly felt so miserable I couldn’t even muster the strength to send emails.  I’m much better today, thank you.

So:  my frog has (hopefully) been accomplished for 2017.  What’s yours?

For those of you who aren’t doing it, getting into the mindset of calling 811 before you dig might be your frog.  “It takes too much time,” you say, “I don’t like waiting 48 hours before I can dig,” you say, “I know there’s nothing down there I’m going to hit,” you say.

You say.

I say “Famous last words.”

  • Too much time?  It takes about five minutes to go through the process, either over the phone with a South Dakota Damage Prevention Agent or through our web-based The Portal.
  • Don’t like waiting?   Yes, utilities are given 48 hours in which to come out and mark the location of their buried lines relevant to your excavation site.  48 hours may seem like a long time when you’re itching to bite into the ground – but it’s a blink of the eye compared to how long you’ll be dealing with the after effects of hitting a buried gas line or electric cable.
  • I know there’s nothing down there.  This last one gets me every time.  If you “know” there’s nothing down there, then remember Clint Eastwood’s line from the Dirty Harry movie, which I will paraphrase here:  Do you feel lucky?

When 2017 began, how many of you who write checks still wrote 2016 on your first few, just out of habit?  It takes a conscious effort to change over to 2017, but once you do it, you have it.

Just like calling 811 before you dig.

Make the conscious effort – no excuses.

After all, while Twain said to “eat a live frog” he didn’t say anything about how large it had to be, and making the call to 811 a habit is something pretty small that will pay you huge dividends.

Remember – I toad you so!   (Sorry for the bad pun!)

Until next week, safe digging!


By Scott Finley

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