Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll recounts SUSAN’S VERY BAD, NO GOOD, TERRIBLE DAY. She writes:

Why does it seem that when one thing goes to heck, that a clump totaling three will follow? I have written about bad days before – one during my first year of columnizing included rinsing out the pitcher part of my blender without realizing that with the bottom off, it makes a perfect funnel. Sadly, pointed directly at my t-shirt. Cute. And very, very wet.

Another bad day involved getting stung on my main driving hand by a scorpion the night before a 2500 mile car trip. Alone.

So you can see when I speak of a “bad day,” I mean trivial things, not life-altering disasters. At my age, almost every day brings news of friends and acquaintances dealing with REALLY bad things, not mere annoyances.

But I am a humorist and there is nothing funny about facing down strokes, cancer, and the loss of loved ones. On the very day before I started writing this, I encountered an acquaintance on my morning walk whom I had not seen in years. She spoke of loved ones with grim diagnoses, a mother put in memory care, and their house flooding from a water leak under the concrete block. All you can say with that kind of news is “I’m so sorry; I will pray for you,” not, “Well, tata, have a nice day!”

If you are like me, only taller, what you hate most about your Bad Day is the degree with which you had agency in that outcome. Am I right? I am MUCH harder on myself than on anybody else in my vicinity who might have contributed to something going off the rails. We all like to think we are still smart and competent and doing stupid things that would contradict that assessment affects our self-esteem and confidence. Especially MULTIPLE things as we shall soon see. Multiple, because of that stupid “Rule of 3.”

It all began in Sprouts market. But on the way there, I stopped at our bank of mailboxes to get the mail. Oh, yay! Inside my mailbox was a key to the lower set of boxes wherein the postman stashes packages of cool stuff you have ordered. In this case, three new pairs of jeans in a smaller size! Woohoo!

I was feeling “up” and proud of myself after doing both my 10,000 steps AND lifting my puny weights. (Parenthetically, Holy Cow, did you see the video of Marjorie Taylor Greene doing a clean-and-jerk many times with what looked to be 50 lb. weights on a barbell? Impressive! Much more impressive than long fake eyelashes…just sayin’.

Anyway, at Sprouts, I bought the things I had written on a list that I had conveniently left in the back pocket of different jeans and a few (“read”: many) impulse items. I think of Sprouts and Trader Joe’s as Disneyland for foodies. The total came to $78.00 for two small bags. I reached into my purse for my VISA. What the heck? NOT in its usual pocket in the purse. Not in ANY of the pockets in the purse. Uh-oh. Luckily, I did have enough cash to cover it.

But that still left the disturbing question, “Where is my VISA?” Oh well, I thought, it will surely turn up. I drove home and attempted to carry both Sprouts bags – one of which had 10 bananas in it – AND the package of jeans at the same time to save a trip back into the hot, smelly garage. (This is what’s known in a mystery as a “clue.”)

I unpacked the bags, refrigerating contents when appropriate, and checked my belt loop to see how many steps I had garnered on the shopping trip. WUT? No “clicker” was on the belt loop. Now even though I have two backup clickers in my desk drawer, because it is SUPER important to me to know how many steps I do every day, I was extremely disappointed that apparently yet another thing was lost. Had I entered a Twilight Zone?

With great hope, I rushed back to the hot and smelly garage (wherein resides the garbage can whose contents merrily roast more each triple-digit day) and – Yay! It turned out that wrestling the 3 large bags in an awkward position had snapped loose the clicker and it was right there in the trunk. Dodged a bullet there. Joy! Gratitude! A prayer of thanks!

After trying on all three pairs of my new jeans and finding they fit perfectly, except in the length which has been my burden for all my life – YOU try turning up the cuffs on bell-bottoms – I decided to empty my entire purse in search of the elusive VISA Card.

And, after cleaning out each and every zippered pouch – there are FOUR of them – I took out my flash-roll of cash (mostly 5s and 10s, alas) and there, hiding right in the middle of the roll, was the pesky jokester VISA! All’s well that ends well, right?

But a nagging thought intruded – the one thing I ALWAYS put back in exactly the same place in my purse is my mailbox key, which is attached to an extra house key. And IT WASN’T THERE!

It took me only about 10 seconds to realize with horror that I had left it IN THE LOCK ON THE MAILBOX when I became overexcited about the package in the bottom part of the bank of mailboxes. Did I mention that the jeans are a Size 6?

Oh, Holy Cow! Not only would an extremely lucky thief have access to my mailbox, but also to my house and all its contents, my casita, my garage with the car in it, and, had I not lost everything in that unfortunate boating accident, a considerable number of guns and ammo.

With a heavy heart I ran to the garage and, to my horror, the car wouldn’t start! What NEXT??? Oh, of course, the car won’t start, because I left my purse on the counter with the stupid fob in it without which the car will not start. Duh. FOCUS!

Back to the kitchen to grab the purse. I even remembered to raise the garage door as I tore down the street at speeds illegal on a highway and for sure in our Geezer Enclosure. I screeched up to the bank of mailboxes, and there, a sight for sore eyes, was a key ring with a house key and mailbox key dangling from Box #4. Praise God!

So the bottom line was the VISA was found; the clicker was found; the fob was retrieved so that the car could start and, most important of all, my new jeans were a Size 6. No, seriously, most important of all, the mailbox key was undisturbed. MANY the time that I had seen other people’s keys stuck forlornly in the locks, and had thought unkindly, “How stupid would you have to be to get your mail and forget your key?” Well, now I know how stupid. Pretty stupid.

Sometimes, after a day or two, a kind soul would take the key ring OUT of the lock and put it on top of the bank of mailboxes. We look after each other here in the Dusty Little Village. For there, but for the grace of God, go we.

Remember when you were a little kid and you kept losing your mittens until your Mama would buy the kind that were on a string and were threaded through the sleeves of your winter coat? Yeah, that. I need some kind of Geezer String that has ALL my important possessions attached. Even though everything turned out alright, it took me a long time to forgive myself for these lapses. In my entire life, I had never once lost a credit card or a key. And everybody has a bad day. Let it go. You aren’t senile and hardly ever slur your words until the 3rd Chambord Margarita at Z Tejas.

Comics are a strange breed. A guy comic can look kind of glum and you ask what’s wrong and he’ll say, “Oh, my father passed away,” and then add, “But, I think I got five good minutes of material out of the funeral.”

So not only did everything resolve beautifully, but I got a column out of it as well. May all your bad days work out as well.

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