Tag Archives: bad luck

All Hail… Aw, Heck!


This is probably the hailstone that cracked the glass on my bedroom window at 1:45 am early this morning.  We got a devastating hailstorm in the middle of the night.  Baseball-sized hail came down on parts of Carrollton, Texas and bashed in car windshields and broke windows and stripped leaves and branches from trees.

It not only woke me up, it made me instantly desperate.  I do not have the $1000 dollars necessary for the insurance deductible that such a disaster would create.  My economic recovery after bankruptcy would be completely derailed.  No car means no extra money from Uber to help pay for doctor bills, the bankruptcy payouts, the income tax bill, and the losses we suffered from the city forcing us to remove our cracked swimming pool last summer.  So I went first to watch the hail come down, fearing it would destroy my life.  I noticed that it was coming down sporadically in the rain and it was only about marble-sized in our neighborhood.  As soon as the ice bombs stopped banging on the roof, I went out into the early morning downpour in only bathrobe, pants, and shoes and checked on my poor little Ford Fiesta.  I found the window-breaker under the bedroom window, but the tree and sporadic-ness of the stones had protected my car.  No cracked windows there.  No dings and divots either.  My car was un-struck.

It would turn out that morning light revealed my wife’s car had been similarly defended by a different tree.


The flowers in the flower patch out where the pool used to be were just beginning to bloom before the storm.  They not only survived the hail, but benefited from the much-needed rain.

So, as my daughter the Princess pointed out this morning, maybe the Greek goddess of bad luck and chaos has finally concluded that I have had enough bad luck for one lifetime… or maybe year… or month… or, goddess please, at least this week.  I did also successfully ignore a phone scam about a fraud investigation involving my tax return.  I did not contact Agent Paul Avery because my tax return has already been accepted and I have even made the first installment payment of the money I owe the IRS.  What kind of idiot would I have to be to commit a fraud on my taxes that would make me pay over a thousand dollars extra on taxes?  Besides, I had seen previous warnings of this particular scam in the news.  Naughty Mr. Agent Avery has been quite the busy boy.   I also know about at least four car accidents that I didn’t get into yesterday and today.  One lady turned in front of me and almost hit me head on.  Somehow I knew by looking at her that she was going to insanely do what she should not do in moderate traffic and I hit the break in time.  Possibly not all luck is bad luck.  And I am not Joe Btfsplk.  At least, not today.

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A Plethora of Bad Days


I’m sure you probably are saying to yourself something like, “What the heck is Mickey saying?” or “Why is this gesticulating goombah complaining again?” or definitely, “What the heck does plethora mean?”

Well, the results of 2016 I truly did not love.

Saturday my football Cardinals got a measure of revenge.  They were leading the hated Seahawks by a score of 31 to 18 in the second half.  Then, like God was cheating in their favor or something, the doofy Seahawks made a couple of long scoring plays and should have been able to kick the winning point after touchdown with less than two minutes left in the game.  Miraculously, the kicker shanked it wide left.  Tie score, 31 to 31.  So then, karma finally kicked in and the Cardinals got down into fieldgoal range on a pass to David Johnson, the miracle running back who ran for over 100 yards in his 15th consecutive game.  The game ended with a successful Cardinals’ field goal that gave them the unlikely win.

So, why am I not happy with a win like that?  Because it was practically the only one.  The Cardinals had a talented team this year that was predicted to win the Superbowl at the beginning of the year.  But they kept losing games.  Eight of them, as a matter of fact.  They were out of the playoff picture before Saturday’s game.  And the last time they played these skanky wanky Seahawks, they scored first in overtime, but still only got a tie out of the game.  And these same Seahawks made it into the playoffs as the winner of the Cardinals’ division.  Football life is really unfair sometimes.

And besides that, the Cubs won the World Series.  Donald Trump is going to be President in 2017.  The world is ending (at least within 100 years).  I am dying (at least within ten years).  And I am no closer now to being a successful novelist than I was on the day I was born.  Oh, and I have a viral infection that makes me cough and may kill me.  Life is all dark brown and dumbly glum right now.

So “plethora” means a whole gol dang lot of something.  And somewhere, somehow, someone owes me a good day or two.

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Filed under angry rant, cardinals, feeling sorry for myself, football fan, humor, medical issues, pessimism, self pity

Just Call Me Joe


Yes, the rain clouds are hanging over my old gray head.   I am plunged deeply back into credit card debt by increases in property taxes, a lawsuit by Bank of America, the city  forcing me to get the cracked pool repaired though I can’t afford to do anything more than fix it myself and rain keeps refilling it, a recent car accident, my wife forgetting to pay the phone bill for two months, and the @#%&! family dog chewing up another of my son’s expensive retainers.  Good fortune occurs once in a blue moon, but bad fortune comes in daily waves.

So today is about complaining.  Life sucks… in the sense of a vacuum cleaner (the addendum I always had to add as a school teacher whenever the word “sucks” was used in class).  Life especially sucks (remember… vacuum cleaner) now that we have a dyspeptic orangutan running our country.

The answer, of course, is that we simply have to live with it.  Life will go on.  At least, until it doesn’t.  We are all going to die some day.  Humanity and life on earth will be extinct some day.  We live within the borders of birth and death.  The beginning and the end.

 But life is actually like a book.  It begins and ends.  But the important part is the pages in between.  And we can fill them with good things and lots of love and even more laughter.  Hmm, maybe I should stop complaining now.


Filed under commentary, Depression, feeling sorry for myself, humor, self pity, strange and wonderful ideas about life

Friday the Thirteenth Family Breakfast


Some days you realize from the very start you need to dig a foxhole and hunker down for a shirt-storm with only one “r” in it.  Today was like that by breakfast time.  Yes, that was the start of it… breakfast… and I didn’t even talk about religion or politics… no, not even once.

I pulled myself up out of bed in spite of an extremely upset stomach (I must’ve gotten up in the night, sleepwalking, and gargled carbolic acid or something).  My head was clogged and full of cotton, making thinking a rather foggy prospect.  But I remembered what the Princess had asked for at breakfast.  Yesterday’s scrambled eggs had been a source of trouble… and a source of extra poop-fuel for the dog’s amazingly active poop-factory.   The Princess had complained that the eggs yesterday were too squidgy to eat.  They apparently were under-cooked because we were all running late yesterday and I had tried to feed her Frosted Flakes instead of eggs, for which I rapidly got tongue-whipped and had to start the breakfast short-order cycle all over again.  So today I remembered that yesterday she had given me license to burn them today.  Black eggs and ham… so to speak.  I even remembered that Henry, the middle child, prefers sausage for breakfast.  Number one son is being fed by the Marine Corps, so that saves on half the contents of the entire refrigerator.  So I juggled the cookware and made both sausage and scrambled eggs without making the eggs too squidgy… they were only slightly dark brown on one side… in only one frying pan.  I even got breakfast on the table ahead of schedule.

But that’s when the fun started.  I had only stepped on the dog once during cooking (she insists on being no further than nose-touching-feet distance from me when I cook, and getting stepped on increases her chances of food being dropped, and she firmly believes that if she only eats enough people food, she will become a people too and be able to work the refrigerator and the can-opener for herself).  But the dog had the Jimmy Dean Sausage wrapper on the floor at the top of the stairs and was busy licking the smell and all the color off it.  As I was going back and forth to bedrooms to awaken the eaters for school, I managed to trip over her with both feet.  I didn’t actually hit the floor, or fall down the stairs, but I got a wooden sliver in the palm of my right hand from the wooden railing on the stairs.  It hurt.  And I didn’t have time to get it out until after kiddoes were delivered to the proper school (each one in a different school, of course).  So, grinning through the pain, it was onward through breakfast.  I ate my Raisin Bran.  The Princess did not eat the eggs… they were not squidgy this time, but she just wasn’t hungry.  She said she had the heebie jeebies from it being Friday the Thirteenth and had lost her appetite.  I asked her if I couldn’t just take a BB gun and kill the heebie jeebies with BB’s.  She had to top that, of course, so she vowed that I could not kill heebie jeebies with BB’s but if there was a Chibi baby in the house, I could kill the Chibi baby with BB’s.  (She is into Japanese anime and Chibi is a word that here means one of those annoying little deformed dwarf characters from an anime episode that signals a sense of mischievous menace in the goofy anime character-thingy).  Whatever.  No more eggs were going into the dog’s poop mill.  I covered them in cellophane and put them back in the fridge.

And my son ate his sausage and promptly returned to bed.  He was too ill to go to school… but he is at that precious precocious age where the teenager will put off dying until after the sausage has all been eaten.  So besides hand surgery, a call to the attendance office of the high school was also on my to-do list.  I packed the Princess in the old Ford pony and galloped off with her to the middle school and returned home just in time to deal with ducks in the road.  Yes, I said ducks!  Every year, at about this time, the same pair of migrating mallards come nosing around our defunct and mostly-water-less cracked swimming pool.  They have chosen our defunct pool as safe place to build a nest (even though grandpa is from the Philippines where they have a dish called balut, made of nearly-hatched duck embryos.  Grandpa loves his balut.)  But these mental-midget ducks were now lounging on the actual street.  And Southern Oaks is a busy  street during rush hour.  The cars were zooming past at above-the-speed-limit speeds, only inches from the stupid male mallard’s stupid green head.  I honked the horn.  I parked.  I got out of the car and walked over to see what was wrong with the stupid duck that wouldn’t take wing even when I honked.  He has no self-preservation skills.  (Why is it always the male animal?)  I shouted.  I waved my hands.  I ran at him and stamped my foot.  Still nothing.  Then… my ill stomach gurgled.  That scared him and made him fly away.  A future duck-shaped road pizza, that one!

So, I finally had time to be sick and go back to bed.  But, of course, it is still Friday the Thirteenth, and I have not dug a foxhole yet.

Today’s Paffooney Cartooney is Mandy Panda and her son Henry… You guessed it, actually my wife and middle son in cartoon form.  Pandas from the Pandalore Islands because my wife is from the Philippines but has Chinese eyes.  My wife had already left for her teaching job at the point where most of today’s joy took place.

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Newspaper Comics in the1960’s; Lil’ Abner and Me

I was once an avid reader of the Sunday Funnies.  I loved the madcap world of Dogpatch, Lil’ Abner, Mammy Yokum, and all.  I also loved Pogo and his creator, Walt Kelly, but I’m sure you probably realized that already.  I believe I basically grew up in Dogpatch.  Rowan, Iowa is a small rural farm town.  Romance is basically a matter of running away from the girls and eventually tiring out enough to get caught and married.  I was a good athlete as a kid, probably why I didn’t get married until I was thirty-eight.  More than one of the old church ladies was a Mammy Yokum.  They fought the good fight for what is right by using a fast fist, a good dose of tonic, and an imperious, “I have spoken!”  I married a woman like that.  I had a Great Grandma that even looked like Mammy Yokum.  There was more than one Hairless Joe hanging around town with a mind fixed on Kickapoo Joy Juice.  There were even a few Shmoos.  I was basically Joe Btfsplk with the little stormcloud forever above my head.  I was in love with the only girl in town who looked like Daisy Mae, and I was chased by at least two different Sadie Hawkinses.



I used to read Al Capp’s strip on the front porch.  It was my personal get away.  We had an old student desk taken from the ancient Rowan School House.  It was placed on the porch, in a corner by Mother’s German pump-organ, the one willed to her by her Great Aunt.  There I would giggle about Abner’s spoonin’ and swoonin’ adventures.  I remember when Frank Frazetta would draw Daisy Mae and the beautiful but smelly Moonshine McSwine.  Man, I loved those curves!  I didn’t realize then that the strip was portraying my own love life so subliminally.  (I know there’s a better word than that, but can you say parallelly?)  I didn’t like to think about romance other than to comment in front of girls that I hated girls and would not ever be trapped by a girl.  That was all a lie, though, a big front.  I secretly adored Alicia Stewart and she was my perfect Daisy Mae.  So perfect, in fact, that I was embarrassed to even be in her presence for a moment.  She would always wonder why I blushed so much.  I never told her ( in an Abner-like way) how I felt about her.



My Great Grandma Hinckley was every bit as furiously upright and moral as Pansy Yokum.  She was the family matriarch, oldest living relative, and determiner of the family’s opinion on practically everything.   She even wore red and white striped stockings once in a while, a matter of shameless pride in the face of the pervasive Methodist Puritanism that surrounded rural people.  She had cures and remedies for everything that went in the face of my mother the registered nurse and all her book learnin’.  In fact, she was such a believer in Vick’s Vapo-Rub that she even ate the stuff.  She would come to our house to clean, purify, and straighten up not only the house and all its furniture, but our young and unruly souls as well.  She stood for no nonsense.  And, although no one ever tested her, she ruled with an iron fist.

Now, Hairless Joe was actually the opposite of hairless.  He didn’t have eyes behind that sheepdog haircut of his.  He goofed off up town, greeted everybody at the cafe, and, although most thought him worthless and foul, everyone greeted him in return.  There was a major difference, though, between him and the comic strip Joe.  No Lonesome Polecat, his little Indian friend.  There was no sidekick to throw horseshoes into the Kickapoo  Joy Juice to give it more kick.  He went through life alone.

There were a lot of Shmoos in town.  They were dangerous.  They made you believe that you didn’t need jobs or money.  Of course, they didn’t make you believe it through magical Shmoo power.  They were more like my Dad, industrious to a fault.  They did everything for you, paid for everything, and never taught you how to do things for yourself.  My Dad, who had been a professional truck driver at one time, tried to teach me to drive, but after the third near-fatal wrong turn, he would end up leaving that hair-raising experience to high school driving instructors.  He figured he had enough hair already and didn’t want to look like Hairless Joe.

Certainly that finally brings me back to the topic of me, Joe Btfsplk.  I am the unluckiest man in the whole of Dogpatch, if not the world.  Every intersection I drive up to yields an instant red light.  The little storm cloud above my head is constantly raining on me.   I’m given to long streaks of bad luck.  My best efforts often come to naught.  Still, like Joe, I keep my chin up.  One good that comes from always expecting the worst is that I am never surprised unless it is a pleasant surprise.  The bad things I am prepared for, the good ones I welcome.

Anyway, I used to imagine myself a resident of Dogpatch, USA.  I was a good, wholesome youth with a world of promise before him, just like Lil’ Abner.  I think I am still a resident, only now, I’m not Abner any more.  My oldest son, Dorin, more of a naive fan of the Fearless Fosdicks of the world, and I am now more like Pappy Yokum, listening meekly to Mammy’s commands until the time comes when I am needed to step up and be the mouse that roared.




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