By Bob Huber
When I was a kid, I often got down in the dumps, but my mother always brightened my day with homespun advice, such as: “There are people in India who have to eat rats and cockroaches. They’d give anything to have your broccoli.”
“That’s a deal,” I’d reply. “I’ll even throw in my yo-yo.”
But really, my mother was just trying to make me happy when she pictured the downtrodden. Her question still haunts me — “You think that you’re having a bad day?”
Years later I created a file labeled “Bad Day,” which was full of stories showing folks caught up in situations that made me feel better for not being there. I still collect them. They brightened my day. Take these stories sent to me by some Colorado friends:
• California firefighters find a corpse in a burned-out section of forest 20 miles east of the ocean and are baffled. The body is dressed in a full wet suit complete with scuba tanks, flippers, and a face mask. (Play theme music here from “X-Files.”)
What happens is, this guy goes diving in the ocean that day, but he is scooped up by a firefighting helicopter with a dip bucket. He is hauled to the fire and dropped 30 stories along with all that water — a perfect case of “He Shudda Stood in Bed.”
Boy, that story made me feel good, even if he wasn’t from India. And here’s another:
• A guy is working on his motorcycle on his patio when he accidentally slips it into gear. Still holding onto the handlebars, he’s dragged through the glass patio doors and into the living room.
His wife hears the crash and finds her husband on the floor, cut and bleeding and glass all over the place. She calls 911 for help and paramedics remove the guy and tend his wounds, while the wife pushes the motorcycle outside, sweeps up the glass, and blots the gasoline with paper towels.
The key to this story is that she tosses the soggy towels into the john just before her husband comes back inside. He goes straight to the bathroom where he lights a cigarette and sits down to relax. That’s when his wife hears a loud KABOOM, and she finds him in the bathtub, upside down, with his pants blown off.
But the story doesn’t end there. The same paramedics lug the guy to their ambulance once again, but when he tells them what happened, they get so tickled they drop him and break his arm.
That story never fails to make me feel good. But there are more:
• The average cost of rehabilitating a seal after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska is $80,000. At a special ceremony in Valdez, two of the saved animals are released back into the wild amid cheers and applause from onlookers.
Then, as the local high school band plays “Anchors Away,” and the crowd sings along, the animals swim away, and in full view of everyone, get eaten by a killer whale.
Well, I could go on and on. In fact, I think I will.
• A couple of animal rights protesters are making a scene over cruelty found in slaughter houses in Bonn, Germany, when 2,000 hogs break loose and stampede madly, trampling the protesters to death.
I may even whistle a merry tune after that one. But here’s another:
• Khay Rahnajet, a Middle East terrorist, didn’t put enough postage on a letter bomb, and it came back with “return to sender” stamped on the package. Dumb old Khay — he opens it.
• OK, I’ll try one final story, but I’m not sure my heart can take feeling so good. This one happened in my family.
• My sister Jean, otherwise known as Gazelda the Fifth Columnist, dates a football player from a university near my hometown. The next day she tells the family, “He’s a real dud. I can’t even remember his name — Buzzer or Fizzle or something full of Zs. Whatever, he’ll never amount to a hill of beans.”
Know who he was? Byron “Whizzer” White, the All-American halfback from the University of Colorado who was a Rhodes Scholar, played professional football, became a successful lawyer, and ended up a U.S. Supreme Court justice.
See, Mom is always right. Then again, a good stiff drink doesn’t hurt either.
Bob Huber is a retired journalist living in Portales