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JIM ‘PAPPY’ MOORE: Out of Kilter

By Jim “Pappy” Moore

When I was growing up decades ago, I would hear adults say that something was “out of kilter.” Context proved it meant something out of whack, something not quite right. It could apply to a piece of equipment: “my lawn mower is a little out of kilter” might mean it was making a rhythmic sound that repeated, like something was out of whack in the motor. 

As I have grown older, I have discovered the burden of vertigo. That is when your inner ear tells your brain something is level when it is not, and your eyes tell you something different. The confusing signals make merely standing up with your eyes open difficult. Your brain is definitely out of kilter when vertigo strikes.

Sometimes events can make one out of kilter. A high school classmate you just saw two months ago dies. A friend confides in you about their heart trouble. You realize your high school graduating class is losing a member every few months. These things definitely can make you feel out of kilter.

Emotional upheaval in every day life can cause you to be out of kilter. Trouble in romance. A divorce. Difficult children. Stressful neighbors. Your children’s teachers. The boss. Co-workers. The combined influences of these people, the ebbs and flows of your life, can make you feel out of kilter. 

Ageing is a primary cause of feeling out of kilter. You might not feel like heading out the door before you have had a cup of coffee to jump start your brain and perhaps knock some rust off those mental circuits. Out of nowhere you will get an ache. Is it permanent? Will it go away today? Does it suggest any ailment or injury? Or is it merely your joints acting up on a cold day? 

Maybe you want to sell your house, and you wait until the real estate boom is waning. Then you find out your house peaked in value six months ago, and interest rates have gone up, and buyers are fewer and it is harder for them to qualify for a loan. You realize you may have to wait two or more years to sell your home and move into something smaller and more fitting for your needs. That means you have to keep mowing the big yard, maintaining the bigger house, and paying the taxes, insurance and upkeep that goes with it. You are definitely feeling out of kilter over this.

You are getting into or out of your car or truck. You have done this on many occasions. But this time you inexplicably bump your head on the door frame. It hurts. You are not sure if it is merely a knock on the noggin or something more serious. Do you go lie down? Do you go on about your business? Do your pupils look alright? Are you showing any symptoms of a concussion?

The older you get, the more often you ponder these events when you feel out of kilter. It takes longer to get over bumps and bruises. They can be more serious than we first suspect. In the end, we have to keep on going, try to remain sane, and not let feeling out of kilter ruin our day.

Copyright 2023, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved.



  1. Cecelia Collins on June 11, 2023 at 11:49 am

    We could have easily had this conversation…I”m certain we could agree on more, too.

  2. Sheila Sorrell on June 11, 2023 at 6:08 pm

    Yes, I don’t know why I ever thought things would slow down or be “easy living” when I retired.

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