“When things go wrong, don’t go with them.” (Elvis Presley)
Last month, in the span of one week…
- My roof leaked into my kitchen.
- My cell phone called in sick.
- My TV went on the fritz.
- My car A/C called it quits.
- My central air got fried.
- My refrigerator, including a freezer full of fresh-frozen wild Alaskan sockeye salmon, died.*
* The dog and I ate very well for several days.
I know what you’re thinking:
“Greg, I ‘m not sure I wanna stand too close to you.”
Or: “Hey pal, I hope you’re not injecting some bad juju into my computer.”
No, pretty sure this is not contagious.
I admit feeling some mild frustration at first. But when it all started piling up, it just became amazing. And frankly, kinda funny. I posted a shorter list on Facebook (I was only halfway through the week), and some of the comments were brilliant:
- The Universe is telling you, you are hot!
- You’re cool enough without that stuff.
- Play that country song backwards….they will all come back!
- You have been industrially negligent. Your sentence is …CONSUMERISM!
- So maybe you need to figure out who’s messing with you.
- Are you on “auto-smite?”
- Can’t wait to hear the new song!*
*New song is in the works.
The Good News:
- I was HOME and not on the road. That was lucky.
- Half this stuff was my landlord’s job to fix. I have a great landlord, so everything is fixed now except the TV. And frankly, I’ve considered just using the screen for an art project.
- My computer did NOT crash. That would have been a sign from the gods to move to a remote island and start weaving baskets.
At this point you might be thinking: “Greg, all that stuff happening at once, have you thought about what it means? Do you think there’s a message for you in there somewhere?
I’m glad you asked. Everything that broke (except the roof), in order to function at all, depends on a mystical phenomenon known as “electricity,” which George Carlin called “organized lightning.” You might recall that Benjamin Franklin tried to figure out what lightning was, then it hit him. Dave Barry has the best explanation:
“Electricity is actually made up of extremely tiny particles called electrons, that you cannot see with the naked eye unless you have been drinking.”
And in the last 200 years of human existence, electricity has become critical to enjoying a preferred physical condition known as “comfort.”
“To put it bluntly, I am not the type who wants to go back to the land; I am the type who wants to go back to the hotel.” (Fran Lebowitz)
So yeah, there’ a tendency to think: “This is some really weird karma. What have I done to piss off all these electrons? I mean, I wrote a really nice song about atoms. You’d think they’d be grateful.”
But the message for me came at the end of the week. One of my best friends called to tell me he has melanoma. Another close friend wrote to say he’s very sick with something the doctors thought was “tularemia.” But now they have no idea what it is. He’s been in bed for a month.
When our comfort is disturbed, it’s tempting to get irritated, and to disturb the comfort of others by complaining. But when it’s not life-or-death, it’s usually better to find some humor in the situation.
“Don’t get mad, get funny.” (Garry Shandling)
When it IS life-or-death, comfort becomes most important. So it’s good to reach out for it. Or share it.
And even then, laughter can be comforting.
“A good time to laugh is when you can.” (Jessamyn West)
© 2015 Greg Tamblyn
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