Meandering Monday about A Charmed Life (Just My Luck)

I hope all of you made it through Friday the 13th okay. So far I haven’t noticed any ill effects (there was one Friday the 13th where I caught poison ivy without being anywhere near it, but a black cat crossed my path that day, so I’m not sure what actually caused the bad luck.)

Is there such a thing as good luck? I think we can all accept the notion that there is some – randomness? – involved in every event. Say you’re following the directions for how to replace an old valve under your sink. You have all the parts and tools you need for the job, and now you’ve turned the water off to the house. And then something goes wrong – maybe the pipe cracks or twists (like that would happen, right) when you’re removing the old valve, and before you install the new valve you have to install a new piece of pipe. You can’t turn the water back on until you repair this now, so you get a torch and a new piece of pipe and a fitting and go to sweat the pipes together, and this is when you start a fire in the wall, and you don’t have a bucket of water to douse it with because the original instructions didn’t even suggest you might need one because all you were doing is replacing a compression valve – no flames required.

Whoever wrote those instructions didn’t account for bad luck – nothing was supposed to go wrong. They were probably a lucky person and never had to deal with this sort of issue. In fact, I bet people with bad luck aren’t hired to write instructions, because they would be too long (AND SCARY) for the average do-it-yourselfer, and then they might not ever start the project and buy the parts.

JoeBtfsplkThose people with bad luck are out there; I know some of them, and I bet you do, too. We WON’T call them Joe Btfsplk (from Al Capp’s L’il Abner comics: the little guy with the black cloud over his head who was a jinx for everyone else) – instead,  we’ll call them Murphy (from Murphy’s law: If something can go wrong it will.) No matter what the situation, things go wrong for Murphy (but it doesn’t seem to be contagious.) Murphy’s so used to it that they have learned to plan to minimize those effects. They really have to work at this.

I’ve led a charmed life. Through most of my existence, an inordinate number of good things seem to happen for me without my trying. I told someone recently that I’m an “accidental person”, and that even when something goes wrong, it’s a “happy accident” in that not only is the damage minimal, but the situation is improved. I don’t tend to plan for contingencies – serendipity takes care of all that.

Of course, when something goes wrong (and it will – NO ONE’s LIFE IS PERFECT), I don’t know what to do about it. I stand there like the id staring at the imaginary hole in his glove that just let the ball slip through. I haven’t trained for adversity – haven’t prepared – haven’t needed to. Now someone without my good luck would just pick up the ball and do what the situation dictates. They’d rely on a lifetime of training to minimize the effects.

I look up to the sky and curse my FATE, while Murphy puts his nose to the grindstone and prepares for the next calamity.

Talk about the grass always being greener – I’m envying Murphy’s bad luck because they’ve developed a skill that I don’t have, while Murphy envies me because I don’t have to.

Well, nothing lasts forever.

As I get older, I find myself reflecting more often on this. Things don’t come as easily as they used to. Some of it is simply the physical effects of aging (shorter memory and slower thinking is physical, too), but some of it just seems like bad luck. More and more often, things don’t seem to go the way I expect them to.

Perhaps my luck is running out.

I never had a midlife crisis – I prefer to call the period of time when I decided to resume my creativity my Midlife Renaissance ™. Maybe this is what a midlife crisis should really be about – time to reflect back and realize that I can’t rely on dumb luck to get me through everything. I need to find a book to help me learn to deal with this – perhaps something by Murphy.

Just saying…


MyBrotherCoverThis week’s Smashwords coupon is for “My Brother’s Keeper”:

What would you be willing to do to save a soul from oblivion? Abduction? Possession? Murder?

A space traveler lands on a primitive planet, and contends with the backwards philosophy of some brown-robed brethren as he tries to rescue his own brother’s spirit.

I think this one may have started with the title, and then grew into a combination of possession, mind control, medieval monks, the afterlife, and aliens (I know – nothing out of the ordinary there – just the usual stuff I go through every day.) My memory isn’t that good (at least it’s still my own), and having written over 60 short stories in the last few years, I confess that some of them have disappeared into the fog. Not this one – I remember it distinctly, especially the exorcism of Brother Isaiah, and I have a particular fondness for the part where… well, you’ll have to read it for yourself.

Use coupon code QB72Q to get 67% off the cover price at Smashwords (that’s only 99-cents – such a deal!) – it’s good until May 21st. Here’s the link:

“My Brother’s Keeper” is also available in my 4th collection – Still Even More Things I Could Get OUT OF MY MIND.


William Mangieri’s writing, including his latest ePub “Burial Details”, can be found in many places, including:




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