Yesterday, I averted disaster not once but twice.
In the first instant, I decided to make myself some steelcut Irish oatmeal. I always follow the same procedure – cook them on high until they come to a furious boil, then turn the heat down to medium for another couple of minutes before turning it all the way down to minimum for the final five. I set the pot on the stove and headed into the next room to check my email and update my blog comments. At which point Jelly waddled into the room and barked up a storm, her way of saying “Walk me!”. And so, I put on my coat, picked her up, and headed outside. Because of her hip dysplasia, it takes Jelly a while to complete even the shortest of strolls – ten minutes from my front walk to the end of the block. Then, another ten minutes up the opposite side of the street and back. We had just reached the corner, the halfway point of our walk, when a certain uneasiness crept up on me, a simmering sense of foreboding fueled by a suspicion that I’d forgotten something. Something very important. But what? What? And then it hit me. The oatmeal on the stove! Holy shit! I scooped up Jelly and charged back up the block as fast as I could, tearing up the walk and onto the porch, scrambling with the house keys, unlocking the door and rushing inside, images of my kitchen engulfed in flames alive in my mind. I raced into the kitchen to find – the pot sitting quietly on the burner. I’d forgotten to turn the stove on.
Twenty minutes, I was out walking Bubba and Lulu when we happened to cross paths with an elderly lady walking her dog. Of course, the mere sight of another dog is enough to set Bubba and Lulu off. They started barking. Her dog started barking back. I reined in my dogs. She tried to rein in her dog, tripped and stumbled, almost losing her grip on the leash. I tugged on my leashes, backing up, swung around to head off – and turned right into a sprawling curbside tree. I felt the branch, sharp and solid, glance off my left eyelid and bounce painfully off my nose. I blinked and, as my eyesight adjusted, blurred then sharp, I realized how close I had come to impaling my eyeball. A quarter of an inch lower and I’d be sporting a rugged-looking eyepatch today.
Like speech gags and celebrity deaths, bad luck comes in three’s. I know this for a fact because I’ve fallen victim to the Rule of 3. I remember…
I was in fourth grade grade gym class and our phys ed teacher called on the students to help set up the trampoline. I was a little wary of the damn thing because, only days earlier, I’d avoided serious injury after attempting a flip – and landing squarely on my head (#1!). That’s all I could think of us as we rolled out the apparatus and proceeded to unlock it. Distracted as I was, I didn’t even realize my hands were resting on a metal roller until the connecting bar touched down on my fingers. I pulled them away in the nick of time as – snap! – it locked into place. One of my classmates, Steve Robertson, marveled at my luck. “You almost got your fingers massacred!”he said as we opened the trampoline. “Almost!”, I remember thinking (#2). At which point the spring-loaded section we were trying to snap into place sprang back and landed my left arm, snapping it in two places. Like kindling. The palm of my hand was flat against my wrist (And that was #3!). I cringe even now thinking about it.
If those Final Destination movies taught me anything, it’s that disaster, twice averted, only sets you up for a third strike. However, if you manage to survive that third attempt by the Fates, then simple superstitious logic dictates that you’re home free.
I just need to survive that third attempt.
As a result, I spent most of yesterday and today indoors, double-checking my dumbbells before my workouts, cautiously sniffing my food before I eat it, bringing my old swim googles out of storage – just in case.
See you tomorrow.