Thankfully, it’s just my luck

There are days when I’d like nothing more than to revert to a four-year-old mentality, stomp up and down, and cry when life just seems to be going the way of the outhouse.
And, sometimes, I don’t need much prodding to go that route.
Those are the days when the shed really does belong to Pete because it’s the only sanctuary from which to escape the Medusa complex brewing in the house.
Unfortunately for Pete, he was trapped in the shed with me Saturday afternoon when I mutated.
Everything had been great up until that moment. We’d been playing house, revamping the kitchen area and hanging all the old bar signs I’d banned from the Tuscan villa because they didn’t match the decor.
The drag-on of winter had been thwarted by a gigantic bonfire we’d started outside in the fire pit—born of last summer’s tree prunings, plus all the wood scraps I’d hauled from the shed building project, bushels of cleared brush, 10,000 sticks the dogs had dragged home, and a Christmas tree.
I should have been markedly satisfied with my life. After all, it was Saturday, payday wasn’t here yet and I still had money in my bank account, and I hadn’t found it necessary all week to repeat the rapid dress rehearsal still vivid in the headlines from last weekend.
All that went out the door when I returned from stoking the fire—certain, of course, that it’s continued success was because I was looking after the thing. It had been my third such chaperone of the glowing mass, which likely could be seen from the International Space Station.
I came back to the shed smelling like smoked salmon and babbling to Pete about the putrid smell I’d encountered while rooting around in an otherwise wood-laden fire.
That’s when I unknowingly ran my hand through my hair.
In the nanosecond it took to realize what I’d done, numerous expletives spewed from my lips—just like the day when I slammed the car door shut at the same time I remembered the keys were still in the ignition.
And just like that day when it cost me $35 to have someone pick the lock, I bent over and held back the tantrum of a toddler.
“So much for growing it out,” Pete blurted my way, hoping I would find him funny. “You burned off about as much hair as the size of a golf ball.”
I swear on all that is sacred on my side of the shed, if I’d have had the laser power in my eyes that Superman did, I would have fried Pete right there alongside the pan of bacon he was cooking on the stove.
But more than the ill-placed comedian who really didn’t intend to offend, it was my ego that was bruised by the carelessness of Mrs. Know It All, who’d forgotten the great childhood teachings of her father—and Smokey the Bear.
I made a bee line to the house and the bathroom, where I bent over the sink with a fine-toothed comb and watched a failed beginning to growing out my hair fall crispy and rank into the drain hole.
When I finally got the courage to look in the mirror, the reflection that looked back at me wasn’t so bad. In the grand scheme of things, I’d been lucky. Besides, losing a bit of hair paled in comparison to a brush with luck from my past.
It was the early 1990s and I was pounding the pavement home from Thunder Bay in my old Dodge Dart, with three little kids in the back seat and without a working speedometer.
Over the hill, heading in the opposite direction, came a police car, spotted me, and flicked on its lights.
Though I didn’t have a clue about how fast I was going, the policeman pulled me over me because he’d clocked me at 130 km/h. He advised that if one of my tires had blown at that speed, I wouldn’t have been able to control the outcome.
Luckily, he gave me a warning and no speeding ticket.
But the warning—I believe—saved our lives that day.
Lucky for me I’d slowed down. It was less than an hour later that one of my back tires blew. When I pulled over in the middle of nowhere and got out to look, the tire was so hot and smoking that I couldn’t even touch it.
Out of the blue came a van carrying four young men visiting Canada from Switzerland who stopped, removed the burning tire, and replaced it with the spare.
I didn’t get the name of the policeman, but if it wasn’t for him, I don’t think I’d be standing here looking in the mirror at my missing hair patch and smiling at my luck.

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