My friend Jim Etheridge is a remarkable man. He's one of those people who leaves an indelible mark on those he meets. Jim retired from his long standing job as a prison warden and began to do something he had always wanted to do, something he had discovered he had a real talent for during his tenure at the prison. That talent was that he could make a difference in the lives of the young inmates in his care.
Jim began to volunteer his time and talent as a counsellor for troubled teens. He was like a drill sergeant but the kids and their families discerned quickly that his toughness was outshined only by his love and devotion to these kids. His aim was to straighten these kids out and to keep them from entering the system. So despite his toughness, teens respected him. They knew he was genuine, the real deal.
One day I was talking to Jim, confiding in him about a series of events that had plagued my family.
"Jim, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. I keep asking myself, what else can happen!"
"Beej, do not ever, ever ask yourself that!" He said.
"Let me tell you a little story."
(Jim LOVES to tell 'little stories. He tends to be long winded but his stories usually pack a big wallop, so I knew I was in for a treat.)
"And I promise you," he continued, "this is a true story.
A while back I had a series of misfortunes. It seemed that no sooner had I solved one problem, two more replaced it. I was beside myself. I was talking about it all to my brother and he said, "Jim, lets go play golf." So I gathered up my irons and off we went.
We walked the course and I vented to my brother. I raised my hands to the sky and asked no one in particular that very question you ask;
What else can happen?
No sooner had the words escaped my lips when a bird flew overhead and shit on my head!"
I laughed at the thought of distinguished looking Jim standing on that golf course, hands raised to the gods, a huge blob of bird poo plopped on his head. It was a pretty good story, one Jim has always insisted was true.
I tend to think it really did happen, just as Jim told it. But it doesn't matter one way or the other because it stuck with me. And ever since I heard it, whenever I want to think nothing else bad can happen, I think of Jim and that bird and I realise anew, things can always be worse. Especially if you tempt fate.
Week Three Summary
3 years ago