When Things Go Wrong

I’ve heard that bad things come in threes. Whoever said that obviously had a guardian angel who doesn’t drink. And NEVER say, “Well, at least things can’t get any worse.” They can and often do. After three years of Trump’s presidency, who knew we would have a pandemic and an attempt to overthrow the government? Oh, yeah, President Obama had made plans for a possible pandemic (that Trump threw out the year before we had a pandemic.) And, oh, yeah, Trump announced well before the election that he would accept the results only if he won. But who knew he’d assemble a goon squad to overtake the Congressional Building? Only those whose job it is to keep an eye on that stuff. It wasn’t like he’d announced it or anything. Life is just full of surprises.

My life is certainly full of surprises. I like surprises, when they’re nice things, like the wedding band set my husband gave me for Christmas, even though we’ve been married less than a year. Who knew that the man who’s bought me four rings already would somehow forget my size when he ordered the wedding band set and miss it by two sizes? I’ll get them back in two to three weeks — maybe months, since I’m still getting Christmas cards that were sent before Christmas. Trump did such a good job on the USPS. Another fond memory of him we’ll have for a while.

We finally put up a fence to keep the dogs from running loose in the neighborhood. Who knew it wasn’t the plastic-coated wire we thought it was? Who knew it was just missing the wire part, and that dogs can break plastic? Who would have guessed that a 10-pound dog could break plastic so fast that ten minutes after we chicken wire one hole, she’s already back on the street through another one she just made? I’ve never actually heard her laughing at us, but her actions sure prove her amusement at our attempts to keep her in. We’re planning to chicken wire the entire 150 feet and then stake it down. If she escapes after that, we’ll consider electrifying it. She’d probably enjoy the sensation, the little s — t.

And who knew that in the midst of a pandemic, when I’m stuck in my house, afraid to see my children, let alone go into a store or anything else that’s actually open, my computer would become my best friend (other than my husband, except during football season.) My e mail, my Facebook, my shopping, my Netflix (since the football is on the TV) — all essential social contact comes through this cute little laptop. Until it doesn’t. First, my mouse died. I considered burying it out with the cat, but I blew taps and threw it in the garbage. New mouses aren’t hard to get — just a quick death-defying trip to Walmart, and voila. But then who knew that when Firefox asks if you want to refresh to speed up your computer (which sounded so good) what they really meant was that they would erase everything — your passwords, your Facebook page, your easy doors to your bank, your accounts where you pay your monthly bills, everything you took for granted? Even this account now has a few of my stories here; the rest I have to go to Google for.

I love my house, but it’s a prison now. And for the last two days, my internet connection comes and goes. It’s an argument between the computer and the modem. The modem says everything is fine, but the computer says I’m not connected. Soon my toaster oven will start fighting with my tea maker. It’s a plot to drive me crazy, and my guardian angel just keeps knocking back the sauce in frustration. By the time I can go out again, I’ll be so weak and feeble, I won’t be able to enjoy freedom. So here’s to surprises in 2021. A surprise now would be if things start going right. I hope I’m still sane enough to recognize it.

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Jo An Fox-Wright Maddox

Jo An Fox-Wright Maddox

Former English professor ponders life, love, and how to leap tall buildings in a single bound.