By Andy Young
It's surprising how many generally accepted familiar expressions are demonstrably untrue.
For example, he (or she) who hesitates is NOT always lost; just ask the driver who paused an extra split second after the traffic light changed, only to see some behind-schedule, risk-averse knucklehead ignore the just-turned-red signal and hurtle through the very space they themselves would have occupied had they accelerated just a tiny bit sooner.
“Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” depends, I’ve found, on exactly who it is that’s absent. Sometimes the heart grows more thankful with each passing day an entity in question remains missing. And do all things really come to those who wait? I for one am not convinced, since after nearly four decades of nominal adulthood I’m still waiting on some pretty significant things.
But despite the preponderance of false proverbs, there are still a few valid ones. For example, knowing for a fact that “Bad things come in threes” proved to be of great value not long ago.
On a recent Thursday I experienced an exceptionally bad day. I got up earlier than usual, perhaps because I was preoccupied with the knowledge that at 9 AM that morning I’d be sitting in a dentist’s chair getting poked, anesthetized, drilled and filled. At 8 AM the phone rang; the dentist’s office was calling to thoughtfully remind me that my meager insurance deductible was already maxed out for the year, so I’d be responsible for paying for the morning’s scheduled torture session out of my own pocket.
And by the way, was I prepared to do so?
Taking some small consolation in the fact that whatever exotic summer vacation trip(s) I had been saving for aren’t going to happen anyway thanks to COVID-19,
I made it to my appointment on time, taking care to pause an extra split second at every stop sign and red light I encountered en route. Two hours later I left, as promised, $1,300 poorer.
Ignoring the still-lingering numbness in both my jaw and my wallet when I got home I retrieved the mail, which consisted of just one item: a bill for another $100 from my family’s Internet provider.
But the worst was yet to come. Upon entering my humble abode, I flipped on the kitchen light and, out of the corner of my eye, detected some motion.
And just in case I thought I had imagined it, a mouse emerged from under the refrigerator, briefly assessed the situation, then scurried back from whence he came.
Oddly, seeing the first physical evidence of vermin in the home I’ve occupied for nearly five years didn’t upset me. In fact, I felt a strange sense of calm.
Ordinarily I’d have hesitated to take the actions I did, but the knowledge that all three allotted bad things had already occurred rendered me invincible. That allowed me to get on my bicycle, pedal through mid-day traffic on a heavily-traveled section of U.S. Route 1, and purchase a pair of mouse traps from a local merchant who carries such things.
Knowing I was invulnerable, I cycled back through even more congestion without anything even close to a near-miss. In fact, I heard nary a curse from any driver(s) I may have cut off while on my mission.
Once home I set and baited the traps, and less than 10 minutes later I heard an eerie “snap.”
These days I’m grateful for many things, not the least of which is that I’m not a mouse. The one I encountered never did find out what the other two bad things in his day were going to be. <