Instant Karma — Just add hot water!
I never get away with anything… ANYTHING! No matter how benign the misdeed; no matter how harmless the prank; no matter how honorable the intention: I ALWAYS get caught. After so many years of such experiences as you might deign to read in the next few paragraphs, I’ve sort of cottoned-on.
I’ve never, for example, ever tried to steal anything because I know – I absolutely know without a doubt — there’d be no point to it. If there were no police readily available to catch me in the act with a documentary crew hot on their heels, there would be an impromptu parade just outside the door with the mayor’s car driving by at the exact moment of my departure. Or, perhaps a retired-cops convention – K-9 unit – would be letting out for lunch. Or my father would be walking into the store as I was leaving. Or, the bullet that I shot into the air from my father’s 22 would finally find its way back to earth at the precise moment of my egress, lodging somewhere in my brain.
Yup! That’s my karma. Just add hot water and it instantly delivers the memorable tang and zest of cataclysmic doom.
Example #1: The consequences of outright disobedience.
Every kid wants a cookie. The cookies are always – always – on the top shelf. Kids are short, but spunky. They may not yet command the language, but think not for a minute that they are stupid. Never underestimate a 3-year-old child’s ability to get what she wants. The cookie that I am not suppose to have until after dinner is higher than I am. Please, challenge me. There’s a counter-top. Too high? No problem. Mom left the dishwasher door open. I’ll just… Up on the counter… Acquire the goods… Yup, just one. Don’t want to spoil my dinner. And,… Jump back down.
You know the dishwasher-silverware-tray? (The one that holds all the silverware. Yeah, that one.) My mother always loaded the knives point-up, so they wouldn’t damage the plastic tray. For the faint-of-heart… or just nauseous at the thought, I’ll pull-over here and let your imagination run with the rest of the scenario.
Example #2: The consequences of pride.
A bit older, the kids from the block – all of us — set up an obstacle course for our bikes. It was wicked-cool with a couple of moving ramps, cones, whatever we could come up with. And we were competing to see who could finish the fastest.
But of courz, I-I-I am zi fastest won. At least I would have been if the newly graveled pavement hadn’t grabbed my front tire in one direction and my back tire in the other. Undaunted, I advanced to have words with said pavement in what must have been the most perfect full-and-a-half layout with a half-twist ever; except that I was about to do a face plant in freshly laid asphalt. I sacrificed my left arm instead.
Bleeding all over the front step I called to my mother. She called Dad, who came home from work and gave me the diagnosis. “Now, that gravel has to come out of there.” He spoke with the bedside manner of one who is giving the grave news of a drastically shortened life. My mother was weeping. I wondered how long I had to live. “I can take you to the hospital,” he said. “They’ll clean it out and stitch it up. Or,… I can clean it here. It’s your choice.”
Mind you, this whole time while my dear mother is sprinkling the carpet with waterworks, I haven’t shed a tear. I’m too irascibly incensed at having been so stupid and so prideful as to get myself into this mess!
Then I weigh my options. The hospital will have needles. They’ll want to anesthetize the area. I hate needles. Wait, did say, “hate?” Oh excuse me for being unclear: I loathe, despise, repudiate, execrate, abhor, detest, misprize and downright seriously dislike needles – not the crochet kind, of course; but the kind they poke into your skin with a fluid substance dripping from it. I’ll take the at-home-cleaning option, thank you very much.
As my left arm became very well-acquainted with the hydrogen-peroxide solution and a clean toothbrush, nary a tear escaped from me. Through it all I was contemplating the possibility of the “instant karma” idea. It seemed too absurd. It can’t be. Can it?
Example #3: Good intentions, mistaken identity.
As a teenager, I had signed up to do a “Secret Santa” project wherein I was supposed to deliver goodies, thoughtful notes and gifts to a girl to whom I’d been assigned: anonymously. It was an important part of the project that we do this in the spirit of Christmas for the sheer joy of giving without recognition. I was all over that! This was great! Definitely in my wheelhouse.
It was a dark and rainy night. I arrived at the scene under the cover of… dark rainy nightness and parked the car a couple of blocks away so the sound could remain undetected. Grabbing the covered plate of carefully decorated Christmas cookies I prowled carefully toward my target, moving between the houses with the care of a panther…
…In squeaky tennis shoes apparently, because coming around the side of the house, I heard voices. “I think I saw him go that way officer.” Officer? I could not get caught! This had to remain anonymous. Not even this girl’s mother could know who was delivering these gifts!
I dodged back toward the neighboring house, cutting through several yards before making it back onto the street. I hoped by doing so that I could make a clean getaway, at least to my car. A couple of flashlights were now scouring each house as a police car approached in silence, ruby and sapphire lights awhirl. Trapped! I’m too young to be a convict! Ducking behind an RV, I tried the door. No dice. I did the only thing I could see or think to do. I rolled under the neighboring car hoping they’d forget to look there.
These are the police we’re talking about though. Guys whose job it is to outsmart criminal minds… even the really stupid ones; kind of like mine right now. A light blinded me from the head of the driveway and I heard a gruff voice, “You wanna maybe get out from under there?”
You know, they say that “Justice is blind.” I really have to wonder if “Karma” doesn’t have a bit of an astigmatism as well. Three cops, the girl, both of her parents, and I guess the neighborhood watch all got to stand there and hear me tell about the Secret Santa project. I handed over the plate of now crushed Christmas cookies where several beheaded snowmen were dancing absurdly with broken stars and melted candy canes. I shuffled to my car in the rain: a defeated figure against the fire and ice of the cruiser lights.
Example #4: My car
Don’t even get me started on the vehicle-related cases of instant-karma. I’ve lost count of the number of 180’s and 360’s I’ve experienced in a car. And I really want to state for the record that I AM A GOOD DRIVER! (Wipe that smirk off your face.) I have a clean driving record and to date – knocking persistently on some very solid wood – have never been the cause of anyone else getting hurt. I realize that aspect of it is due to heavenly powers at work in my behalf more than anything I’ve done.
Words of wisdom: Never text and drive simultaneously. It’s dangerous and deadly. How many PSA’s have we all seen of someone holding up the last text their friend or family member sent before biting it in a crash? It’s common sense, isn’t it? You can’t look at two things at the same time and expect to give your full attention to both. Unless of course you have monocular vision, like a horse or a fish or a bird, where they see independently on each side of their head. But, most of us reading this are human with binocular vision and depth-perception.
I had been invited to a special dinner with a group of dear friends. We’d all been looking forward to this get-together with great anticipation. For whatever reason, which I cannot now remember, I was running a bit late. As I drove, a text came in to my phone. “It’s probably someone just wondering where I am and when I’ll be there,” I thought. It can wait. – Oh,… Well,… Maybe I’ll just take a quick look.
The text read, “Hey gir’, what’s your ETA?” Driving; looking at the road; minding the speed limit in the construction zone; I had this crazy sensation that I must be a horse or a fish or a bird, because I decided to answer… quickly. Oh, so quickly! I swear it took no longer than a couple of seconds. My return text was this, “10 min.” SEND.
When I looked up from that – I emphasize – momentary lapse of focus on the road, what I saw was a large freight truck that had inched his way into my lane. His rear bumper was not 6 inches from my front headlight and he was not signaling, nor was he stopping his lane change. I don’t think he even knew I was there. Reflexively, I swerved.
And a “BAM!” two, three, four, and “SCRA-A-APE,” two, three, four, and… “SQUEeeeeL!” all the way across the four lanes of traffic to the other side. And moonwalk! That’s right, that’s right… another 180 and you’ll be ready for Dancing with the Stars, baby! “Wow, those people in the front-facing cars looking at me seem a tad concerned,” I thought as I was carried uncontrollably backward on this wave of momentum. One final “SCRAaaaape!” against the construction barrier and the world stopped spinning.
Miraculously – and I do not use that word lightly – no other vehicles were involved. Can you believe this? 60 miles-per-hour on a busy four-lane freeway, and not another soul was touched. As if God himself felt I’d had enough negative karma for one day, the car that stopped to help within seconds of my landing contained a young married couple. He was a construction worker who immediately donned his bright orange vest and began directing traffic. She was a nurse. No broken bones. No lacerations. I walked away and my car was totaled.
To celebrate, here are a few really bad haikus off the top o’ my head:
The soft mouse inside
A steel cage: four-thousand-pounds.
Life smears in a blur.
Driving backwards now
Taking the car for a spin.
No steering. No brakes.
I am a blockhead.
And it would be fun if I
weren’t about to die.
Ever seen your life
Flash before your eyes? Sucks if
It’s been a short one.
Ah, Karma. My old friend. My life is so interesting because of you. I have you to thank for all this blog-fodder and so much more. Really, it’s been fun: so many memories. Don’t you have somewhere else you need to go now?