Snapshots of a… Crazy Kinda Life

The Misadventures of Messie Jessie

I just can’t win… or can I?: The paradigm shift March 25, 2009

Today, I am not going to be sharing one of my stories- at least not until the end. Stick with me here, people. This morning I attended a seminar, and the keynote speaker shared a personal story. It struck a chord with me, and I thought I would share it with you all. I find it’s lesson quite relevant to my own life, and it is my hope that you all can find some meaning in it too.


car crashKen is a psychiatrist from Pittsburgh. The day before he was scheduled to leave for a family trip to San Francisco, California he eagerly closed up his office and made the regular drive home. En route, the car in front of him decided to make a U-turn. The driver didn’t see Ken, and to forewarn the driver that they might collide, Ken hit the horn with his right thumb. Unfortunately, Ken acted too late, and the cars stuck one another. The impact caused Ken’s airbag to eject, with Ken’s thumb still upon the horn. Side bar: whomever decided to put the horn and the airbag in the same place, clearly wasn’t thinking. This is extremely poor engineering. End Side bar. Ken was stunned by the collision for a moment, and it wasn’t until a few moments later he realized that his thumb was now resting on his forearm. He also realized that the other driver had fled the scene.

Ken was taken to the hospital, where they called his injury a “partial amputation”. He showed us the scars, and I have to tell you, it must have been real ugly, because it sure wasn’t pretty a few years later. Ken went into surgery, and after getting stitched and cleaned up, was cleared to go on his vacation the next day. 

Ken’s hand was completely covered in white gauze bandages, and he had to keep a medical pillow under his arm so that his right hand was raised all the time. Ken joked that it looked like he was constantly waving hello to everyone, or else giving the Heil sign. This didn’t stop Ken from enjoying the vacation, and he did hiking and touring along with his family. 

As he was riding the bus to Haight/Ashbury, a large man in a leather jacket, worn jeans and dark sunglasses gets on the bus. It was a packed bus, and the only free seat was next to Ken, mostly occupied by his skyward pointing right arm. Ken was sitting there, minding his own business and filling out car rental forms, as the guy squeezes into the open seat. Ken can feel his eyes on him, looking him up and down, but he is used to stares at this point. He then turns to Ken and asks, “What the hell happened to you??”

Ken recounts the story, expressing his anger about the situation. The man takes a deep breath and says, “Well, you can look at it one of two ways:

“You can choose to sit around and be angry about it. But I know a little something about that, and let me tell you; it’s kinda like being pissed off at the air. You can feel it all around you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. OR,” The man pauses, looks down at Ken’s free hand filling out the rental forms, “you can be glad that you’re a lefty“.


So here’s my little quip for the day. It’s not as good as Ken’s story, but it’s all still relevant; to my recent life, and to this blog entry.

I was at work, chatting on the phone with an old friend, playing a little catch up and making plans to get together for the weekend. Discussing current irritations and how I always tend to make things even worse, the following conversation ensued:

Me: Well, you know, all of life is a lesson. I get that. And I learn from those lessons, I really do. It’s just that sometimes, I feel like…..

Him: You just keep fucking it up?

Me: (Big laugh) Exactly. You think there’s a lesson somewhere in there too?


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