When Bad Stuff Happens (including injury to Junior)

Remember it always feels better to be grateful for the things you have than resentful for the things that you don’t.

Sometimes I come across something — an object, a friend, or, in this case, a sentence in someone’s blog — at precisely the right moment. I might be in the middle of a period when bad stuff is happening to me or a close friend, and in such a time, it would be easy to descend into a maudlin state of mind and assume the whole world is conspiring against me (or the close friend in such a way that it affects me, too). And then, quite by coincidence, someone happens to write something totally unrelated that resonates in the right way.

A long-lingering bad situation — let’s call it a confrontation, really — in my roommate Cleopatrick‘s life reached its climax this past week. Of course, I can’t get into details here because it’s his crisis, not mine. But I’ve been associated to it so intimately that one could argue that I am and am unwittingly continuing to be one of the ingredients of the crisis.

As bad as the situation has been for roommie, one thought has frequently crossed my mind this week regarding his adversaries: that they are sad and pathetic, stubbornly wrong, morally bankrupt, and so desperately lonely that they have to manufacture heinously difficult situations for others to endure just to give meaning to their insignificance. “You know the joke about the absurdity of a dog chasing after the wheels of a moving car?” I asked the roomie as I was driving along A720 en route for a late supper at a cheap but good Oriental joint down in the Village. “If it were possible to have a little talk with that dog, I’d love to ask him what he intends to do with the wheel if he were to catch it.” After a reflective pause, I explained: “I can’t help but think of [roommie’s adversaries] as that clueless dog. If and when you give in to their demands, they won’t know what to do next.”

Moreover, earlier during our drive, I had been thinking and telling the roommie that what he does have — the support and love of his friends and family — is practically an alien concept in the life of his adversaries. Roommie knows that, both cognitively and affectively. But I think it’s particularly important to be overtly grateful for that now and to remember that, quite possibly, his adversaries are as vile as they are because they spend an inordinate amount of time doing the opposite, even going as far as being resentful of the most insignificant slight, let alone seismic life shifts. (Actually, there’s a good inside joke for us, which I can’t get into, in the term “seismic shift.”)

At any rate, last night I was invited at the bountiful table of the roommie’s parents, which, along with the company, is always a treat. Late in the evening, the roommie and I drove home in what was by all accounts an uneventful drive.

Until we arrived in the garage at home.

The pictures aren’t downloaded yet from the roommie’s cell phone, but the most bizarre and fluky incident occurred. In a nutshell, I always drive to a certain spot in the garage so that I can then back up into my assigned parking spot. In that certain spot where I always drive, there’s a manhole cover over which Junior has gone over countless times. But last night, his driver’s side front wheel hit the cover in a certain spot and in a certain way that caused the cover to topple upwards, wedging itself solidly under Junior. So solidly, in fact, that I couldn’t back him up. It took the help of the janitor’s son and two jacks to lift Junior up enough so that we could unwedge the manhole cover and free him from this strange stranglehold.

Back at the apartment after this odd incident, the roommie, by his own admission, was surprised by the calm I exhibited at that point. Had this happened to his adversaries, he said, the jumping up and down and screaming of bloody murder would still be occurring. And, truth be told, while there is a large element of fluke to what happened, the fact the manhole cover wasn’t (and still isn’t) bolted down or made to fit the hole properly and is probably moved on an irregular basis tells me that my insurance company will likely go after the owner of the building to recoup the cost of the damage on Junior. To have a sign in the garage stating that the owner takes no responsibility for theft is one thing, but this situation, to me — and I suspect the insurance company — is quite another.

Junior today is sitting in his parking spot, likely wincing in pain and unable to lick his wound. But while it was a stinkin’, rotten, fluky thing to happen, I have one thing to be grateful other than the fact that no one but Junior got hurt.

It’s called …Insurance.