I believe it was the brilliant comedienne Carol Burnett who said, “Comedy is tragedy plus time.”
The other day, I offered to help a friend with her daughter’s birthday party at the beach. My daughter and I volunteered to make cupcakes for the party, so we were up late the night before frosting 36 sprinkle cupcakes with bright blue icing. It turns out that blue icing is a messy business, so cleanup went later than I expected.
In spite of our late night, we got up early the next morning. I thought I had plenty of time to start the weekend laundry, make breakfast, wrap the gift, meditate, and try out my dog’s new bark collar. My dog has always been a barky little guy, but it has escalated to a new level lately. It’s like having a car alarm go off every time a stray cat wanders by the window or a bird lands on our roof… which happens more often than you might think. I considered putting him on some kind of doggy Prozac, but my sister-in-law, who has three barky dogs, swears by this collar. I read the instructions and double-checked to make sure the “shock” setting was off so that it would only vibrate and beep. I figured the perfect time to test it out would be during my morning meditation. We went into my bedroom, like we do every morning, and sat on my reading chair, and started my 20 minutes of attempted tranquility.
Unfortunately, I underestimated just how much he didn’t like this new collar. It is kind of bulky and anything new scares him. About two minutes into my meditation, my dog jumped off the chair, and I heard a terrible retching sound.
Normally I don’t get up from meditation even when he barks. But this wasn’t barking, this was that horrible pre-vomiting sound. I jumped out of my chair to grab him before the vomiting began. I could hear him, but I could not find him. I looked all over the bedroom, in the bathroom, and the closet. More retching, but no sign of my dog.
Then I realized the sound was coming from UNDERNEATH my bed! I rushed over because the only rug in my house is in my bedroom, under my bed… and it’s a shag rug. Needless to say, I didn’t need him throwing up on that. I have a low-profile bed frame, so I wasn’t sure exactly how he was able to get underneath that three-inch clearance, but he did. My goal was to grab him before he threw up, and in my frenzy to try and save the carpet, I dove under the bed like I was sliding into home plate. I heard a sickening thud, which turned out to be my face hitting the hard ground. (No, the shag rug did very little to cushion my fall, and I got a nasty rug burn to boot.) I laid on the ground with my arm stretched out as far as it would go under the bed, but I still couldn’t reach him. It was dark under the bed, and my face was contorted at an odd angle on the rug, so I couldn’t see much. Finally, I coaxed my nervous little dog out from under the bed, but could not assess the damage he might have created under there. I immediately took off the bark collar, which never even beeped or vibrated, but in spite of that, he still managed to work himself into a full state of hysteria.
After I got him out of my bedroom, I went into the kitchen to grab some paper towels and my daughter screamed, “Mom! Your eye is all red and bleeding!” I grabbed a bag of ice and went to assess the damage. Thankfully, it wasn’t bleeding, but I did have quite the “shiner” under my eye. Yes, in an attempt to prevent my dog from barfing on my shag rug, I gave myself a black eye! Well technically, it was a bright red eye from a broken blood vessel, but it was turning a lovely shade of purple as I sat there staring at it in utter disbelief. I placed the ice bag over my eye while wondering if this was the best remedy? I distinctly remember Fred Flintstone always used a Brontosaurus steak whenever he had a black eye, but I was fresh out of Brontosaurus steaks.
In spite of my boxing match with my hardwood floor, we still made it to the beach party on time. Around lunchtime, I offered to go pick up all the pizzas. The beach parking was in a residential neighborhood and the street was quite narrow. I got in my car, backed up a few inches, and suddenly heard the terrifying sound of metal on metal. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw nothing behind me. Phew! But when I got out to investigate, I discovered that I had scraped my car against a mailbox that was hiding in my blind spot (ironic I know!) Don’t worry, the mailbox was fine. My car, on the other hand, not so much. The corner of that mailbox carved out an 8-inch gash along the side of my car. It looked like it had been “keyed” with the edge of a crowbar. In the blink of an eye (my swollen, black eye), I just had my second accident (dare I say tragedy?) of the day. But I was there to help my friend, so I got back in the car and went to get the pizzas that were waiting for pick-up. When I returned to the beach, we had 20 starving kids ready for hot pizza and homemade cupcakes. They were all so happy, and for a moment, I almost forgot about my two unfortunate accidents. But I couldn't help but worry that bad things happen in three’s... and it wasn’t even Noon yet.
Later that evening, I had a charity dinner to attend. It was kind of a western-themed jamboree. I had bought cowboy boots (my first pair), a cowboy hat, and a simple tee-shirt dress. For someone who doesn't like to dress in costume, I thought I pulled it together pretty well. But then there was the issue of my freshly-created black eye. I wasn’t really planning on this last minute accessory. I don’t own actual cover-up makeup, so I ended up improvising by using a lot of tinted moisturizer. I just kept layering it on until it almost looked normal. If nothing else, the bags under my eyes would be very, very moisturized.
The party was great fun, but the whole night I felt like I was waiting for the other shoe (or cowboy boot) to drop. What was going to be the third mishap of my day? I found myself walking extra slowly, dancing cautiously, and made sure that I didn’t drink more than one alcoholic beverage. I made it through the evening without any more incidents… well almost.
In celebrating the survival of my black eye, my car damage, and an injury-free jamboree, I might have over-indulged in the rich comfort food... and I definitely went overboard on the pie tasting. Everything was delicious, but all that rich food (and pie) didn’t sit well. So, I went home feeling a little queasy. I went to bed with a bad stomach ache and woke up with an even worse headache. Is there such a thing as a “bad day” hangover? I think I had one. So between my upset stomach, my blinding headache, my black eye, my really ugly dent across the side of my car, I decided that should fill my quota for bad luck happening in groups of three’s.
The next day I was really feeling sorry for myself. Then I decided that I was looking at it all wrong. I had three minor mishaps that almost ruined my weekend. But I had a weekend of being surrounded by good friends, good music, good food, and good fun.
My headache and stomach ache only lasted a few hours… with a little help from a handful of antacids and a couple of aspirin.
My black eye should heal in about a week or two. Needless to say, I won’t be appearing on the new cover of Vogue.
My car will get fixed. Although, I haven’t seen the estimate for the repair, which might end up being the real tragedy in this story.
The good news is that nothing was permanently damaged… and I did attend two great parties. So the lesson learned is that accidents happen. Or more aptly sh*t happens. As for the silver lining… at least I had something to write about today. And maybe even something to laugh about later.