Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I think it was John F. Kennedy who said, "Life is just one damned thing after another!" Those words have the ring of truth, and I would add one more word to that sentence...."Life is just one damned aggravating thing after another."

Some aggravating things are just small nudges in the smoothness of our daily lives, while others are deep, traumatizing Karate chops. Most of us have lived through deaths and disasters and, Heaven knows, they can leave you blown like an empty plastic bag in the winds of change, clinging to something solid only to have the high winds send you sailing again. Yes, those are the bad times. Those are the losses that change your life forever, that send you out on a lonely odyssey to a new existence.

But there are those small nudges, too. They pepper your life with small aggravations, moments of irritation, small pauses in the large circle of time. It's like bumping into something when you doing something else and sending a gallon of liquid splattering to the floor. We've all experienced similar moments. It is these small nudges that can push you over the edge.

For instance, why do magazines have those cardboard forms that fall to the floor when you try to read them? Why? Why do fruit have those little paper stickers that you have to either peel off or digest? Why? Why does the phone ring when your favorite television show is on? Why does the post office have one clerk taking care of a mile-long line? Why does that computerized voice in the self-check-out line say, "Please place the item in the bag!" before you have time to lift it up? Why does a driver pull his car in front of yours only to turn a half-block later? Why is a screwdriver wrapped in Bubble Wrap... who is going to poison a screwdriver? Why does the President insist upon calling the War in Iraq the "Global War on Terror" when few countries on the globe are joining the fight? Why do grocers seldom mop the sticky floors in front of the Bottle Return Machines, so that your shoes' soles are glued to the tile?

This list goes on and on, until life is a series of minor mishaps, each guarranteed to ruin your good disposition and irritate the hell out of you. Sometimes it seems as if you are doomed. If you buy a square peg, you will find that you are supposed to use it in a round hole, or vice versa. You buy the wrong sizes, forget to mail your bills, can't find your socks, can't please your wife or hubby, step on the cat, spill the lemonade, misplace your wallet, or lock yourself out of the car. Any way you look at it, it's all a normal part of an average day. It's like death and taxes....inevitable.

I know people who have suffered so many aggravating little nudges as they walk life's rocky path that they are convinced they are cursed. They operate by the principle that "what can go wrong, will go wrong...and it will go wrong for ME!" This makes them deeply depressed and they climb into bed with dark, shadowy thoughts....just before they realize they forgot to turn out the lights.

So, if you suffer from depression over the many aggravations in your life, perhaps it will be a comfort to learn that you are not alone. I don't know why that would comfort you, but perhaps it will. People garner comfort in many strange ways, or so I hear. Many of us suffer from these irritations and they make our lives difficult indeed. It's like reaching the phone just as the caller hangs up. It's like going to an appointment with your doctor and finding out you are a day early. It's as though fate is conspiring against you, and giggling at your discomfiture. You get the feeling that you are walking a precipitous path and are about to tumble into the abyss.

John F. Kennedy was a very wise man, because he realized that life is full of prickly problems, springing up at the very moment you least expect them. But, don't despair. Keep your eye out for that Bluebird....who just may be a Crow. Make lemonade out of lemons, so that it will be stickier when you spill it. Keep your eye on the rainbow..and get spattered by the rain. We've all been there, done that, will do it again, and life is indeed one damned thing after another. You can count on it!