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Remember the ‘K.I.S.S.’ principle

Sometimes the solution’s right in front of our nose.

Way back in 1969, I got my first exposure to newspaper work by beginning a part-time job with the Lonoke Democrat after school hours. During the summer I worked there full-time and learned a lot about typesetting, proofreading, photography, layout, writing, etc. I also learned that all of this was hard work—for that was in the day when we used “hot type,” which was made out of lead.

I’d type the columns on an old, hard-stroking TTS machine that utilized a punch-hole system on yellow tape. This was then fed into a linotype machine where the brass fonts fell down from a magazine into a line of words, which were then “cast” into a line of lead type.

After the column was finished by the linotype typesetter, the lead type was placed into a metal tray called a galley. You’d then dip a rubber roller into a tray with black ink and roll it over the type; then, you’d place a strip of paper over the type and roll a heavy rubber roller over it to get a “proof sheet” of the type. After proofreading the column, marking the typos in red, you’d type the corrections on the TTS and cast the lead lines on the linotype. And, then you’d replace the lines of type with the errors by learning to read upside down and backwards.

Oh the joys of journalism in those days!

In addition to setting type, making up ads, developing negatives and doing the darkroom work, etc., I also began working as the sports editor for the newspaper. I’d cover all the local high school sports and then have to work on Saturdays getting my columns typed up for the following week’s paper.

It was there — and later on in college journalism classes — that I learned the K.I.S.S. principle, which is “Keep It Simple, Sir,” although we usually defined it as “Keep It Simple, Stupid!” Or, looking back, maybe the one teaching me that acronym and important principle was addressing it only to me!!

Regardless, we learned the best stories are simple and to-the-point. We also learned to use the “Fog Index,” which counted the number of words and number of multi-syllable words in a sentence to come up with the reading level. The best sentences were usually 18-21 words or less and usually written on an eighth-grade level. And, the less big, “10 dollar words” the better.

Although the mechanics of newspaper work and journalism have greatly changed through the years, the K.I.S.S. principle has remained the same. And, I’ve learned that it can also apply to so many other things in life — particularly our relationships.

Too often we get ourselves in trouble in relationships by playing mind-games or the blame game. Instead of “straight talk,” where we speak the truth in love, we beat around the bush or resort to scapegoating another person.

But, dear Reader, we’d have a lot less problems if we’d readily admit it when we’ve messed up and ask forgiveness from those we’ve offended (either by commission or omission). It only takes an humbling of ourselves and loss of pride. And, if we refuse to engage in petty, tit-for-tat exchanges, we’ll soon find ourselves in less hot water and better relationships.

Life’s too short to go around harboring grudges or keeping a list of how others have hurt us. A seed of resentment will soon grow into a “root of bitterness,” which will taint everything we think, say and do (Hebrews 12:15).

That’s why we should always have a K.I.S.S. attitude and approach to things. Not only will this help us to better identify a problem and come to a solution, it’ll also make for better interpersonal relationships. And, this will certainly help us sleep better at night, knowing our hearts are clean and our consciences are clear before Almighty God.

Amen and amen. God bless you.

To contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at

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