It was my worst week ever. I had an apartment located smack-dab on the university campus. It smelled like moldy goat cheese. I felt like the oldest student God ever created. Maybe I was.
College kids would point and say things like, “Hey, Grandpa, the morgue’s that way.”
Then skateboard off.
Anyway, I applied to a school program. The professor said my work stunk. So, I applied to another. I failed the interview. I called my wife.
“What am I doing here?” I said. “The professors treat me like a dumb redneck, students act like I belong in a nursing home.”
“You aren’t dumb,” she said. “But you are kinda redneck.”
I persevered—though I was about as uncomfortable as a cricket in a honey puddle. Then, one day, a campus official approached me.
“I don’t know how to tell you this,” she said. “A computer glitch deleted your name from our system. Sorry, but we have to drop you for several semesters.”
“You’re kicking me out?” I asked.
In a few hours, I was driving back home. I cried in the truck. I stopped at a gas station, ate three honey buns, and counted the pennies in my pocket to make myself feel worse. My cellphone vibrated. It was my wife.
“It’s Daddy,” she said, sobbing. “He’s fallen. There’s a lot of blood. He’s in ICU.”
When I got home, I forgot all about school. While my wife held vigil at the hospital, I loped into rush-hour traffic for coffee. I considered my future career options, which were less-than plentiful. I was leaning toward taxidermy.
Just then, the vehicle ahead slammed its brakes. I rear-ended it hard. The airbag busted my cheekbone, I went unconscious.
When I awoke in an ambulance, the paramedic wore a grave face. He said, “Good thing you didn’t pee your pants, lotta folks mess themselves during car wrecks.”
Thank God for small blessings.
In the hospital, Jamie sat beside me. Her father: just down the hall, comatose. I don’t recall feeling more despondent than I did that day. In only one week, I’d managed to see my life become an exotic brand of fertilizer.
You’re probably wondering why I’m writing something so depressing. Because. Life beats the spit out of you without mercy. And I do believe there’s a reason behind it.
Call me nuts, but I don’t think your worst moments are coincidences. Take me, for example. If it wasn’t for the god-awful, dream-crushing week I just told you about, I’d be miserable, staring at a little gold-framed certificate on my wall. We might not be friends. And you certainly would not be reading this.
Anyway, that was the week my wife said, “You oughta start putting your writing on Facebook.”
It was a ridiculous idea.