BY Dobie Maxwell
People ask me quite frequently – really, they do – if ‘Mr. Lucky’ is a made up gimmick I came up with for the stage. Ha! Don’t I wish? It’s a joke.
I know everyone has things go haywire in life from time to time, but for reasons I have never been able to decipher I have had more, and on a painfully consistent basis, than anybody I have ever met – and I’ve met a lot of people. If there was a Hard Luck Hall of Fame, I’d be in it.
What has always baffled me is, it’s rarely any singular event. It’s a constant collection of small stuff that comes in random yet highly annoying clumps, and then morphs into an ugly bombastic blur that jam packs my waking hours with unbridled stress, utter frustration and all out misery.
I have tried my best to maintain a positive attitude, but these sinister streaks keep coming back to hammer me into submission again and again. Whatever heinous debauchery I must have done in a past life to keep getting tortured in this one – I’m truly sorry. Can’t I be forgiven already?
For a painful example, here’s how a recent day went:
I woke up especially early to get in an exercise walk. I popped a shoe lace and it was too early to go buy another so I decided to put off the walk until later in the day and answer some emails.
The very first one was a booking cancellation for several months down the road I had assumed was a solid date. It was a nice chunk of cash I was counting on, and now it’s gone. No deposit. No gig.
I was already steamed as I stepped into a steaming shower, and there’s barely enough shampoo. I had to hold the bottle upside down and take the cap off, and it all took way too long. There was also a tiny sliver of soap left, and that was the last bar. It kept breaking, and it was all a big pain.
Then I went to shave and the can of shaving cream farted. I was out of that too. Ugh.
I dry shaved and got dressed to go do a radio interview across town. I had been having serious car issues for a month, as it had been stalling at random. I had taken it to several mechanics, but none of them could figure it out. It always ran fine when they looked at it, but then stall in traffic.
That particular morning it happened to conk out five blocks from home – smack dab, dead nuts in the middle of morning rush hour traffic. I embarrassingly pushed it off to the side of the road as a steady parade of peeved to the hilt impatient drivers beeped, swore and gave me the finger.
Right! I see their logic. I obviously woke up planning on screwing up their commute. Pinheads.
I cranked and cranked and cranked some more on that starter, but that piece of temperamental tin just did NOT want to run. It’s a Toyota Camry, one of the most reliable cars ever. Usually.
A local cop stopped and asked to see my driver’s license. I didn’t have it because I had lost my wallet a couple of weeks prior, and had to go get a new picture taken for a new license. It now is required to be sent in the mail to avoid identity theft apparently, and I hadn’t received it as of yet.
The officer was cool about it, and looked me up on the computer. I had no warrants so he said he would add my car to a computer list so other cops would leave me alone until I got moving.
He left, and after cranking almost to the end of my battery – and my will to live – it FINALLY started and ran like it just came off the showroom floor. I think it was the universe mocking me.
By this time I was a sweaty, angry stressed out mess, and late for the radio interview. I tried to call the station, but of course it went to voice mail. I wasn’t able to reach a live human being.
I put the station’s address into my GPS, and it took me on a route I wasn’t familiar with. While trying to navigate my way through construction and new turf, I got pulled over by a second cop. </p.
“May I see your driver’s license please?”
I proceeded to tell him the story about losing my wallet. He wasn’t impressed.
I waited in my car twenty minutes. Speeding ticket. $120. Now I’m even more late. Ugh.
Stress is now rising like the national debt, and then the radio station calls.
“Where ARE you?”
“I tried calling, but you didn’t answer.”
“Well, we’re on a time schedule. When can you get here?”
Stress level now to code triple red.
Got there. Apologized. Did the interview. Went well.
On the way home, I stopped at the small lot where I bought the car two plus years ago to ask the owner if he knew of a trustworthy garage who could diagnose my situation. He did.
They took an hour to go over my car with a fine tooth comb. The diagnosis was a distributor, which cost $250 I’m told. Ugh. Not thrilled, but not surprised. It made sense when they said it.
They order the part, it comes a half hour later. It doesn’t fit. Of course. None of them can figure out why, but it doesn’t. They order another one from another source. Now it’s a race against time.
They put the second distributor in, but now the car won’t start. They fart around another hour, and it finally starts. Now the ‘Check Engine’ light is permanently on. Nobody knows why. Ugh.
Total cost out the door: $400.51.
Now I’m tired, frustrated, highly stressed, out of patience, and late for a previous appointment to help a friend go through some collectibles. I put his address into the GPS, and again it takes me on a route I’m not familiar with. I’m trying to figure out the quickest route, and I’m frazzled.
Police lights again. Pulled over a second time.
“May I see your driver’s license please?”
Deja vu all over again.
I told the lost wallet story again. Again, the officer wasn’t impressed.
Speeding ticket number TWO. $132. Inflation.
I called my friend and told him I wasn’t going to make it tonight. He’s not thrilled. More stress.
It was one of those where you pinch your cheeks and pray for green lights. They didn’t come. I think I hit every red light in the county. Then I got stopped by a train. I was losing hope quickly.
I got to the first gas station I saw, and the rest room is outside. Of course. I try the door but it’s locked. Of course. I waited in line in the station for some soup head to scratch off a lottery ticket. Then he couldn’t remember the brand of cigarettes his old lady told him to buy. Total torture.
I thought would evacuate my bowels right there on the floor. I finally got to the bathroom, and the toilet seat is physically OFF the toilet. I have never seen that in my life. Ever. Plus there’s no toilet paper. Of course. I thought about using the speeding tickets, but they were back in the car.
I give the key back to the attendant and waddle to my car, thinking I’m going to pop like a zit.
Next stop – Taco Bell. I go into the bathroom and the toilet there was overflowing. Water was an inch deep on the floor and gurgling up like a geyser. Yuck. I was not able to wait any longer.
I finally went into the women’s room and crop dusted like a bull moose after Christmas dinner. Relief! It was Colon The Barbarian, and there about three squares of toilet paper left. Of course.
Finally I made it home dejected, and severely defeated by life yet again, and decided to check my emails before hopefully getting some much needed sleep. The first one I see is from a pretty woman I am extremely fond of, with whom I was supposed to have lunch the next day.</p
“Hey, I just don’t think we’re a match…” Blah, blah, blah. Ugh.
Of course not.
And this is by far not the first time a day like this has happened. Far, far from it. I have actually gotten two speeding tickets in one day before. It was in Wyoming of all places, but that’s another tale for another time. This is enough of an example of one day in the life of Mr. Lucky.
So in summary, I am now officially the only person I know who has gotten a pair of speeding tickets in one day – twice…and in a car that didn’t run.
I never did get my exercise walk in either, or the shoe laces.
At this point in my life I’m praying like a monk for identity theft. I don’t think anybody would keep it very long though. I have no doubt I would get it back the next morning with a nasty note.
Nobody wants to be me – including me.
So…that’s how my day went. Other than that, everything’s fine.
Dobie Maxwell is a writer and stand-up comic from Milwaukee. To see what hell-gig he’s working next, visit dobiemaxwell.com