I was amazed when I awoke this morning, not stuffed-up and apparently dying. I really expected this last bout of flu to be the end of me. I figured I had only lasted this long by sheer luck and the grace of whatever gods really do flit about us and don’t ignore us completely. I figured Covid would claim me by the end of this week. After all, I have COPD, genetic heart issues, high blood pressure, and diabetes. But if it was Covid 19, which most likely it was not, it turned out to be one of the milder flus I have endured in the last decade. Yesterday, the fifth day, was the worst day. And, like has happened more than fifteen times since 2008, the following day sees me feeling almost completely better. I had H1N1 twice according to the flu tests I took. Once for each f the strains of that particular epidemic. I have had severe bronchitis three times, and spent a week in the hospital with pneumonia once. The biggest surprise was that I hadn’t succumbed to this whole awful virus business before now. Every extra day I am given is a new surprise.
I had some other surprises. I got the results back from a book review I requested through the Pubby book-review cooperative I am working with. The Pubby author’s desktop had told me the review for Magical Miss Morgan was going to be a four-star review. The actual review, once Amazon approved it, was actually only a three-star review. The reviewer was apparently a former teacher who took issue with some of Miss Morgan’s classroom decisions and also objected to some name-calling in the book. Name-calling? The only name-calling I recall comes from students making jokes about unpleasant teachers’ names, and some fairy racial slurs used against other fairies. The fire-wisps are known for a lack of intelligence since their bodies are literally made of magical fire, leading inescapably to the whole race being hot-headed.
I am not upset about the poor rating. I expect some people not to like my books for any number of reasons. And it is refreshing to see a reviewer giving a specific criticism and proving she actually read the book. That is much better than the reviewer of Recipes for Gingerbread Children, a book about a Holocaust survivor who makes her peace with the world by telling fairy tales to children, who gave it five stars for having “very good recipes for gingerbread cookies.” That faker not only didn’t read the book, he didn’t even look at the basic information in the review request.
It would’ve been nice, though, if Pubby had been more accurate about reporting the number of stars. That’s not the kind of surprise I really enjoy, even if I did learn from it.
The third surprise I had today was how easy it was to reclaim my Hulu account. I have been paying for it right along, but I lost access to it when the last TV in the house burned out its screen. I couldn’t transfer it to my laptop because I was sharing the account with my eldest son who doesn’t live in our house anymore. I could not change the password because he was still using it, and the account would not recognize my laptop without changing the old password. Finally, a month after my son got his own account, I was able to reach Hulu programming once again by resetting the password. I was really surprised that a months-long problem was dispatched in less than ten minutes.
Surprises, both good and bad, actually shape our lives. The performers I used as illustrations all entertained me by surprising me. I learned things from them my whole life… and I am still learning from them. In Chaplin’s case, I even learned from the surprise of who he turned out to really be. Not such a mice man. I was also surprised by how good of a person Fred Rogers turned out to actually be. And it is surprising how much Red Skelton’s difficult life and heart-felt comedy actually helped make me be the kind of man I came to be, whether you think that is good or bad in itself.
And that is all I have to say abut that. Surprise!