When I was in high school I had a plan to be a multimillionaire before I retired. Over the years I have worked hard, saved, refined and altered the plan until I am on the verge of fulfilling my dream. If just the last few things fall into place, I’ll have it made. Most important of those: the Powerball has to be five.
I’m joking of course. I don’t have the luck to stake my future on winning anything. When I go to a casino, I hand a hundred bucks to the nearest cashier and head for the buffet. It saves a lot of time pulling down that stupid handle on the slot machines and the results are the same. I can’t win anything. I once went to a convention with my friend Lucky. They had a raffle with lots of great prizes. I bought a couple handfuls of raffle tickets and didn’t win a thing. Meanwhile, Lucky has his winnings piled chest-high around him.
Lucky: We should have taken your pickup instead of my car. I don’t know how I’m going to get all this stuff home.
Prize Announcer: And the winner of the grand prize of the new Chevy Silverado pickup is … Lucky!
Me: Holy cow. How many tickets did you buy?
It extends over to fishing. I have a friend, Franny, who can catch fish in a bathtub—why he fishes from a bathtub instead of a boat is beyond me. Every time we go fishing he out fishes me two to one. Three to one when he puts his line in the water. We can use the same bait and lures, and it doesn’t make any difference. He’ll be pulling in fish so fast he’ll start complaining about his arms being sore, or he’ll stop and take a break because he needs to rest to let his breathing return to normal from the constant exertion. (Quick tip: When you tell your fishing partner who has caught nothing but a half a clam shell in the last two hours that you’re going to take a break because you’re tired from pulling in so many fish, make sure you have a good hold on the boat to make it harder for him to throw you overboard.) We can switch sides of the boat and exchange rods and it doesn’t make a difference. He catches the fish and I don’t. He once asked me to dig a sandwich out of the cooler for him. I handed him my rod to hold while I got him a sandwich.
“Hey, I’ve got a fish on your rod,” he said with his legs wrapped tightly around the seat’s pedestal as I tried to throw him out of the boat.
I can’t say I have all bad luck. I have a beautiful, bright understanding wife who lets me put her in this blog as long as I mention that she’s a beautiful, bright understanding wife. I also have three good kids. I’ve known parents with teenage kids who counted it as a good weekend when they didn’t get a call from law enforcement. When my kids were teenagers they were smart enough to know how not to get caught. I count myself lucky for that.
Speaking of family, this weekend I went to a family reunion. I saw cousins I hadn’t seen for decades. What struck me more than anything else after all these years is how much alike we looked, and by that I mean we’re all old. It was a good time. Everybody got along and caught up on what had been happening in each other’s lives. I know that doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment, but when I was a deputy sheriff we would get calls from funeral directors requesting a deputy stand by at a funeral because they were afraid there might be a fist fight between family members. We also got calls from attorneys requesting a deputy in the room when the family settled Grandpa’s estate, because some of the family members really didn’t get along. Everything went off without a hitch at our reunion without one single police officer—I did see a couple members of the National Guard, but I think it was just a coincidence.
So I guess all and all I can count myself lucky to have the family I do, and especially my beautiful, bright, understanding wife. Sometimes a guy can be the lucky one even if the Powerball isn’t five … but I’d still like to catch a fish.