What’s your blind spot?

Let’s welcome Rob Hoffman on his first WOW! Women on Writing virtual book tour to promote his latest book, Blind Spot. We are very excited to read his guest post, “Man Plans and God Laughs,” a common expression heard throughout many of our lives.


Man Plans and God Laughs

by Rob Hoffman

Humans are guilty of so much.  Really, we are a sinful tribe when you cut right down to it.  Forget the seven deadly sins, that barely scratches the surface.  Ten Commandments, geez, that wouldn’t even cover a night in the French Quarter in New Orleans.  Oh I know what you’re thinking, we’re not all bad, not all of the time.  We are capable of so much good, you say.  Yes I know, and that might be humanity’s greatest sin of all, wasted potential.

No blog could ever capture all of our flaws, so it beguiles us to try and narrow the vast and practically endless ocean of faults and sinful behavior that inhabit humanity down at its core.  While we can debate which of our transgressions are worse than others, I believe that hubris, having too much pride, can, and has been one of humanity’s most costly and unattractive behavioral weaknesses.  

The learned amongst us have tried to warn against this longtime foe of good judgement, and responsible behavior going all the way back to the Ten Commandments, right on through the ancient Greeks, Romans, the Byzantine and Islamic empires, and through the teachings of the Catholic Church, and yet, despite these warnings, despite our frailty and mortality, despite our almost endless imperfections, we still feel as if we are in complete control.  No need for Jesus or anybody else to take the wheel, we’re on auto-pilot!

The Yiddish term, “mentsh planz aun got lafs,” or “Man plans and God laughs,” proclaims through the sarcasm typified in the Yiddish language, that we best check our egos at the door when it comes to making plans or believing we’ve got it all figured out, whatever “it” is.  Madeline Sharples’ blog, Choices,  seems to address this idea in a most sensitive and intelligent way.  It is a blog dedicated to the idea of being humble in the face of tragedy while clinging to hope.  This lesson would benefit one Doug Kaplan, the protagonist in my novel, Blind Spot.  Doug is a man who has achieved all that any person could ask for in this life, and as a result should be both happy and satisfied, but of course is not.  He then however, learns what it is to have all that he has achieved taken from him due to a moment of selfishness and hubris, and begins to understand how good he really had it.  Needless to say, there is much Doug could learn from Madeline.


Thank you, Rob, for your generous compliment about my blog, “Choices.” Now here is a description of Blind Spot in Rob’s own words.

Blind Spot Summary. In this comedy/drama, based very, very loosely on my own experiences, a middle aged father of three named Doug Kaplan appears to have it all.  An attractive and supportive wife, three healthy boys, and a successful career.  He doesn’t shy away from his responsibilities as a father or as a son to his aging parents, and he is valued and respected at work.  However, all his life he has been plagued by the accusation that he does suffer from one significant character flaw, a subtle but substantial penchant for being selfish, a flaw that he is largely oblivious to.

Doug Kaplan’s life was progressing about as well as he could have hoped for.  In addition to his loving wife and family, he and his wife Kelly had finally purchased a house in lovely Seaford, Long Island, and while it may have been a fixer-upper, it was still going to be their dream home.  Despite his selfish streak, which by his wife’s own admission could be off-putting, he might never have found his blessed existence sidetracked, until he encountered the elderly woman next door who proved to be a seemingly unavoidable obstacle.  Who knew that their home on the cul-de-sac known as McGregor Court would be nestled next to the biggest know-it-all and budinsky in the entire Metropolitan area.  Yes, Trudy Fleischmann was a force to be reckoned with.  Emigrated from Germany as a little girl at the end of World War Two, Trudy has known suffering and sacrifice, but she is also wise and caring, and why shouldn’t she share her knowledge and opinions with the young couple who has just moved in next door.

Already having to look after Kelly’s widowed mother as well as their growing family, Doug and Kelly end up seeing their responsibilities increase exponentially as not only does Trudy’s husband Burt die, and remove the one pleasant buffer that lay between Doug and Trudy, but Doug’s father passes as well, and now he and Kelly must provide care for three elderly widows as well as their three young boys.  However Doug’s entire existence will become, much to his chagrin, inextricably tied to Trudy after he accidentally runs her over with his car one beautiful summer’s day in a supermarket parking lot.  Can Doug overcome his selfishness and provide the care and patience that the badly injured Trudy requires?  Doug’s family, career, and sense of who he is as a person are all on the line as he tries to summon his better angels and do the right thing.

Purchase your copy now available on Amazon. Make sure to add it to your GoodReads reading list too.

Who is Robert Hoffman?  It’s about time somebody asked that question.  Rob Hoffman is originally from a town on Long Island called North Massapequa.  He attended SUNY Oswego where he majored in Communications, a degree that it turned out he had little use for.  He did however meet  the woman who would eventually become my wife, the former Michelle Lindell.  Rob and Michelle lived in the aptly named Flushing, Queens for six years before moving to a town called Clifton Park, New York just south of Saratoga Springs.  Finding little value in his degree in communications, Rob became a social studies teacher, teaching in Long Island City, Queens for four years before spending the remainder of his career in Rensselaer, New York, a small city on the banks of the Hudson River just across the water from Albany.  Rob taught for 31 years before retiring in June of 2021, only to come back as a part-time teacher in September of 2021 at Rensselaer High School.  Rob had always been interested in becoming a writer and he began his blogging career as a contributor at the “Times Union” of Albany for six years.  In this time Rob also blogged for a variety of sites including Fark.com, Crooks and Liars.com, Albany.com, and Knees and Fists.com.  Rob has remained happily married to Michelle for 34 years and counting, and has two grown sons, Andrew and Alex, ages 29 and 23.  Most recently, Rob and Michelle became grandparents to the newest addition to the family, Sam Hoffman, son of Andrew and his wife Katie.

Blind Spot represents Rob’s first true attempt at writing fiction, an experience Rob both fun and exhausting.  Rob had thrown around several ideas as he began to think about what it was he wanted to write about, and then one day his wife had sent him to the supermarket on an errand where he saw somebody he really didn’t want to spend anytime talking to, so he raced out of the store, got in his car, turned it on, slammed it into reverse and was about to speed out of the spot when he stopped himself and said, “Dumb-ass, be careful, you could hit somebody.”  Then, as Rob began to slowly and carefully pull out of his parking spot, he thought for another second and it occurred to him how ironic it would be if he accidentally hit the person he was trying to get away from and Blind Spot was born.  The character of Doug Kaplan, while not autobiographical, is sort of based on the best and worst of Rob’s traits.  Doug is at times the guy Rob always wanted to be, and yet at the same time, Doug also represented the guy Rob was relieved to know he never became. The other characters according to Rob are combinations of people that he knew from his childhood, as well as college and work experiences.

Follow the author online at:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robert.s.hoffman.7/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/burtpurdy
Linked-in – https://www.linkedin.com/in/robert-hoffman-43999348/
Instagram – hoffman_files
Website – https://thehoffmanfiles.wixsite.com/website

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