No Hay Mal Que Por Bien No Venga

There Is No Wrong That Does Not Happen For Good Reason

Regardless, waiting around for a silver lining is incredibly annoying.  Few things provoke as much anxiety and impatience as dealing with the unknown, feeling that we are in a state of limbo, or just not knowing why we are having such a long string of bad luck.  Above all else we simply want to know how things are going to end up when all is said and done. 

Yes, maybe the outcome will not be what we expected, but who among us still believes we, as individuals, do have complete control over our own destinies?  Of course the decisions we make and actions we take do impact what happens to us, but there is no way to assert 100 percent that every single plan we make will work out exactly as we envisioned.  If that were the case we’d all be walking around with rock hard abs, thick flowing hair, designer duds and  genuine smiles on all our faces.  Well maybe some of us would choose less vein realizations, but coming from a 5 feet, 8 inches tall “hard to kidnap” fellow I’d say this wish list is a pretty good start (borrowing from comedian Jen Kober now).

Unfortunately…or maybe fortunately, since we should be careful what we wish for, the reality is sometimes shit just happens.  I’m reminded of the time I begged a restaurant owner for a job as a teenager.  Every day for about a week I called the business and asked to speak to the guy, inquiring each time if he was ready to hire anyone yet.  In hindsight my actions were pretty annoying and I’m surprised he wasn’t ruder to me.  Finally one day he told me I could come in the next day to work as a dishwasher.  Money hungry as I was, I pressed my nicest pair of jeans and button-down long-sleeved shirt, mounted my bicycle, made the four mile trip down the major thoroughfare in Houston’s humidity, and arrived 15 minutes before I was scheduled to clock in, albeit soaked in my own perspiration. 

I was so proud of myself – I had set my goal, persisted and achieved it! 

Thirty minutes into my dishwashing career the brunette Goddess-looking waitress called me over to the phone to speak to my new boss.  His words were pretty brief.  Basically he’d overlooked some budgetary items and it turned out they really didn’t need me.  Angry and ashamed I hopped back on my bike and made the four mile trek back to my parents’ house.  The worst part was my neighbor driving by and honking and waving at me from the main road. 

Another time I’d just pulled out of my high school parking lot in the multi-colored car my sister had handed down to me that summer (think dark green hood, cream body, and brown driver’s side door), when I noticed a police vehicle parked in the road median just ahead of me.  I didn’t have enough time to break my speed and the next thing I knew the cop was flashing his lights driving up behind me.  I had a choice to make – either I’d sit here and wait for him to pull me over and give me yet another ticket, maybe even take me to jail, or I could make a run for it and drive through the red light ahead.  Stupidly, I floored the gas and made it to the other side of the intersection, drove past a few stop signs, and slid into a small shopping center with Palais Royal on one side and Little Caesar’s Pizza on the other side.  Too scared to make any more sudden moves I sank into my seat in the middle of the parking lot and watched as the police vehicle drove by, lights flashing and horns blowing now, past my rearview mirror. 

I waited another 30 minutes and then drove to my girlfriend’s house.

From then on I was so paranoid about having my vehicle identified that I finally confessed to my mother about the more than $1,000 in outstanding tickets against me at the county.  She rode with me to the bank, withdrew from her savings, and made me drive over to the court to find out what I needed to do to avoid being arrested.  Had it not been for that very fortunate brush with the law I would have likely been arrested at some point during my junior or senior years. 

In each case, after my anger, frustration, embarrassment, and fear subsided, I felt a little wiser.  Like I had learned something, or at the very least that now I had a very interesting story to share with my friends and family.  Certainly there have been more dramatic and tragic circumstances that have tested my faith and sanity, and surprisingly even then, at one point or another, I’ve come to understand why it was necessary for me to experience that pain.  Maybe it’s in the way we look at our situation – the whole glass half full or half empty notion – because after all, that is the one factor we can always control: our attitude towards a given stretch of bad luck. 

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