I guess this would be considered a comedic essay? I'm not sure, but I wrote it, so here it is.
Have you guys ever had an absolutely terrible day, when nothing seems to go right? Well, I'm not trying to brag or anything, but I've had quite a few of them. And I don't want to offend anyone who's actually had really bad experiences, of course. I haven't had cancer. I wasn't raised in a war-torn country. I wasn't abused as a child – although my uncle did force me to sit on his lap all the time. No wait, get your minds out of the gutter – he was a minister! No no no... not like that! I'd just have to sit on his lap, and he'd make up names of girls that didn't exist, say they were my girlfriend, and then make me tell him all about how much I loved them. It was weird, to be sure, but it wasn't abuse.
The kind of bad days I'm talking about are just days where one bad, unlucky, random thing happens after another. I've had those days.
The first one that always comes to mind is when I was in high school. Now high school in general wasn't the most fun for me. I know, looking at me now, you're wondering how on earth this sexy mancandy could've possibly had a rough time in high school. But I wasn't always this suave and debonair. Can you believe, back then, I was a nerd? And I wasn't even the full-on nerd, where I'd put up with crap at school but then get to go home and play Dungeons & Dragons and video games and enjoy myself. No, I was the kind of nerd who was really into sports but had asthma. I was the nerd who was friends with the pretty girls in band and choir and drama, but was nothing more. I was the one who wanted to play basketball or football after school or on the weekend, but whose friends were the aforementioned nerds who DID play D&D and video games and Magic the Gathering and all that after school.
Let's just say the short-lived TV show Freaks and Geeks really spoke to me!
Anyway, the point is, those days were not the most pleasant in general. But yet despite that, I still had one particular day that went above and beyond the average piece-of-shit day.
On that day, there were plans to go out golfing with my dad, my best friend, and one of my dad's golfing buddies. I was a pretty decent golfer, but I was getting to the age where I was enjoying it less and less. See, my dad had always loved golfing, and got me into it when I was 2 or 3, thinking I'd be the next Davis Love III (how's that for a semi-obscure golf reference!). I never got that good, and there was a level of frustration I began to notice in my dad when we went golfing together, which eventually became frustrating to me – he was constantly critical and it drove me insane on my good days.
But as I said, this day was not to be a good day. My friend and I were a few minutes late meeting my dad at the golf course (I was still 14, but he had just turned 16 and already had his license, so he was able to drive us there). My dad wasn't happy about that. Then, he told us we couldn't get an electric cart – I think I mentioned before that I *liked* sports, but wasn't very good at them, mostly because of a combination of laziness and... severe asthma. So I was disheartened, to say the least, that I'd be walking that whole day. And it was a sweltering hot and humid day, to boot, which meant I was sweaty and gross, and didn't have any water with me. I was, by this point, audibly expressing my anger and frustration to my best friend, out of earshot of my father. He, naturally, found it to be incredibly amusing.
By the 5th or 6th hole, I was clearly not trying to play well. I just wanted the day to be over with. But my father, being a perfectionist – for me, anyway – was continuing to try and “give me lessons” on every shot. Most kids have fathers like that, and if it's not golf, it's baseball or football or, um... axe-murdering? I'm sure there are some father/son axe-murdering teams out there, and I guarantee their dynamic is exactly the same. But on that day, I was not having ANY of it, and every time he would try and tell me to do something, I'd do the opposite, swear about him to my best friend, and see great laughter out of him from my misery.
And as if all of that wasn't enough, what followed was a quick series of events that capped off what would already have been considered one of my most frustrating days ever.
After, we'll say, the 8th hole, my dehydration was becoming quite apparent, and I needed water. My dad offered me some out of his water bottle, but my stubbornness would not allow him the satisfaction of me getting quenched via HIS water. So instead, I noticed a water jug with cups at the next tee. I was elated! Water! But as I held my cup under that spout waiting for the one sprinkle of joy from this day to come out, nothing happened. The giant jug was EMPTY! No water for ol' Paul-o, here.
Distraught, and feeling like the day was one I would now just try and get through, hoping to forget it ever happened, I found the bench by the Juniors Tees (okay, they were the Women's Tees – until I was about 18, I played off the Ladies' Tees!). While my dad and his pal walked to the Men's Tees, I went to sit down on the bench next to my buddy. I was thirsty, but at least I could rest my legs in this sweltering heat. My friend was sitting fine, but apparently the spot I chose was the only spot on the bench where one of the pieces of wood was warped, and naturally, when I sat down (and I did so forcefully and filled with anger), I smashed down on the spot where the warped part met the straight part. It felt like I had been cross-checked hard across the ass – or at least I assume so, since I only took figure skating lessons as a kid and never played hockey.
The point is, it hurt like a mofo! It was excruciating. My friend was almost keeled over with laughter at the incredible pain I was experiencing, knowing the series of events that had preceded it. I was not happy, but being the smart and funny teenager that I was, I was able to at least get enough strength in my pain to say those words that I will forever regret: “Well at least I know one thing: this day could not get any worse.”
And if what had followed was in a movie I was watching, I would've said that it was the most ridiculously contrived moment ever. I would've called the screenwriters hacks, going for the easy but totally unrealistic joke. I would've probably never watched any of their work again, on principle alone. That would've been my reaction before that day.
Instead, as if on cue from a director, within 3 seconds of me uttering the words, “this day could not get any worse,” bird sh*t landed on my shoulder. That's right, a bird, who could've done his business anywhere, defecated on the shoulder of my absolute favourite shirt. In the sweltering heat. Seconds after I had declared it to be the worst day ever. Karma would've had the bird empty its bowels onto my best friend, for laughing progressively stronger at each misfortune I found myself in. Instead, I'm convinced it was the devil at work. Or at least Oprah.
I was, at this point, both infuriated and laughing a little, because at that point, I couldn't help but laugh. But I also still put the entire blame on my father for badgering me the whole round and really putting me in the bad mood in the first place. (Those were bitter years, and I admittedly now am a bit embarrassed for my actions of that day and others like it back then.)
I needed to get the bird doodie off of my shirt, and my father was off at the Men's Teebox, and I was somehow shifting all the blame to him – I guess I believed he had supernatural powers and could control wildlife or something. So I grabbed the towel he keeps on his golf bag that he uses to wipe sweat off his face, and I wiped my shirt as clean as I possibly could with it. And then didn't tell him anything about the bird, or how I wiped it.
We were planning to play 18 holes that day, but at this point, I asked my best friend if he'd be okay if we left after 9 holes, and he agreed, having been witness to my day (even though he was enjoying the hell out of it). So we left for the car after the last hole, and left my dad and his sh*t-stained face towel to play another 9, sweaty holes of golf. I felt like I had gotten some vengeance. Sure, I still had some bird sh*t on my shirt, but at least my dad would have it all over his face!
So we drive back to my part of town, and I unload my golf bag and head for the back yard to go in the back door. My friend was with me, as we were going to hang out at my place until my dad got back from his last 9 holes. However, when we got there, I realized that I didn't have a key to my house with me. I had assumed I'd be coming home with my dad, so I didn't bother taking them. And my mom, well she was out at the mall or grocery shopping or something, and wasn't home. And there were no spare keys left under any stone or rock or mat at my house. And it was late spring, but we hadn't yet taken the patio furniture out of the garage for the summer yet, despite it being sweltering outside.
So I then spent over an hour in the hot sun, sitting on the cement patio blocks, bored to tears and STILL without water. My dad is an accountant who works out of his home, and at any point clients of his might stop by to see if he was there. And they use the back door, so I didn't even want to take off my shirt – the one with sh*t on it – in case one of his clients might see my sickly, 14-year-old shirtless body and be frightened to the point of finding a new accountant. So I sat there, still in the shirt o' poo, until finally my mom came home from getting groceries and I could go inside, change my shirt, and lie down in my air-conditioned home.
On that day, I learned some valuable lessons. First, never shift your frustration to others, because it's probably all on you to begin with. Second, if you think you're having an awful day, it could always be worse: a bird could sh*t on you. Third, if you do something dickish to someone for something that was literally out of ANYONE'S direct control, then the world or fate or nature or whatever you want to call it doesn't owe you ANYTHING for that whole ass-hurting, bird-sh*tting stuff.
But finally, if you're gonna have a day like that, bring along your best friend. Sure, you'll get the cruel laughter and misplaced amusement at your misfortune, but if he's really your best friend, he'll also sit in the hot sun and wait with you, even though he could drive off and go home and enjoy the rest of the day. And most importantly, he'll be able to corroborate your story, because nobody's going to believe that a bird actually sh*t on you.
© 2010 Paul Little