Thursday, October 16CDP Top 30 Of All-Time ('06-'08) - #15.
#15 - "Your Karma Ran Over My Legma."
(Originally Published April 4, 2007.)
On a classic episode of Seinfeld, Jerry begins to realize that he is 'Even Steven.' No matter what positive and negative actions seem to take place in his life, he always finds a way to break even. Throughout the episode, his friends begin to resent his apparently wonderful relationship with the Gods of Karma and Fate, while Jerry becomes more and more relaxed and confident in the outcomes of things.
The problem with breaking even, however, is that you never get anywhere. And I am living proof.
When it comes to money, I've been breaking even for most of my life. No matter what positive monetary force comes along, an equal and opposite one is right around the corner, stinking of compost and aluminum cans, waiting to shove me right back into the unshakable funk of what has become by everyday existence.
It never fails. If I get a raise at work, my student loan interest rates will go up. If my Mom sends me $100 as a gift, my electric bill will be that much more expensive for the month. If I want to buy a new microwave, my vacuum cleaner will start on fire. There's nothing, absolutely nothing I can to do get even the slightest bit ahead in the financial department.
The only time fate has ever worked in my favor to let me break even was the last time me and the Missus went to a casino. I managed to lose over $300 in a half-hour, yet the Missus won exactly that much cash an hour later. As it turned out, I didn't know how to play poker as well as I thought I did. Don't get me wrong, me and the Missus are doing okay; it just seems that we could be doing so much better if fate wasn't such a greedy and backstabbing jerkass.
Nowhere does this come into focus more than when I get my extra paycheck.
I've mentioned this before, but I get paid once every two weeks. This equals about 26 paychecks a year, which means that there are two months out of every year where I receive three paychecks instead of two. For those of you who manage their checkbook and monthly bills like I do, you'll know that the bonus paycheck is a truly wonderful time of the year. You handle all of your typical monthly expenses and bills with your first two checks, and the third one is purely extra income. To me, it represents an extra grand or so that I can spend on whatever I want. Strippers, blow, smack, crank, rock, ice; the whole kit-n-caboodle.
Problem is, I've never had the chance to enjoy the full benefits of the bonus paycheck. Not once in the last 3 years have I been able to actually spend that extra money on whatever I wanted.
Because twice a year, every year, my car breaks down. Can you guess when?
If you ever see me on a weekday morning, riding shotgun to work with my wife, it's pretty safe to assume that I recently came into some extra cash, and was being punished severely for it. I am simply not allowed extra money beyond what I need to survive and eat sub sandwiches.
This month was supposed to be my month. This was going to be the first time that I actually shook fate off of my back and did something special for myself. All of my bills were paid, there were no outstanding expenses, and all of my responsible planning was paying off in spades.
My reward? An 80GB Video iPod. Something I have been waiting to purchase for over a year. For weeks now, I've been meticulously uploading each and every one of my 2000 CDs into iTunes for the upcoming migration. It's been tedious and annoying as hell, but I knew it would all be worth it in the end. Before I knew it, I'd have my entire musical library at my fingertips, allowing me to listen to absolutely anything I want, at any time, anywhere.
On top of that, I was fortunate enough to have an AUX input in the front of my Aiwa stereo, allowing me to listen to my iPod in the car without having to use that dumbass FM Transmitter that costs $65 and doesn't work for crap. I simply bought a $5 connector cable and hit the ground running.
Truly, luck was on my side for this one. Today was my day.
What I didn't know was that fate had something extra special planned for me.
Yesterday morning, I pulled out of my garage and headed for work in the pouring rain. With my current 1GB Shuffle by my side, I plugged it into the AUX input and got just a small taste of what was waiting for me once I upgraded to the 80GB. The tank was full of gas, I was wearing Khakis and eating a Pop Tart; life was good.
I merged onto the highway, turned on my lights and hit the windshield wipers. The rain was coming down hard now, and I didn't want some sort of nasty compound fracture to ruin my day.
"Man," I thought to myself, "the wipers sure are going slow."
I cranked the wipers to a more vigorous setting, only to have them work even more slowly than before. My head cocked to the side as my view of the busy 4-lane highway started to slowly disappear in the downpour.
"This can't be right," I said to myself. Then all hell started to break loose.
First, my stereo started flickering, eventually turning off after a few seconds. The wipers stopped wiping completely, and my headlights dimmed and flickered off a couple seconds later. The 'Check Battery' light popped up on my dash (no kidding?), and it was followed by just about every other light on the console. Within 10 seconds, I had gone from a carefree and content man to the pilot of an invisible car, careening along a dark and busy highway at 80 miles per hour, in a blinding thunderstorm with no wipers. I could see absolutely nothing, and I was pretty sure that nobody could see me. For all intents and purposes, I thought I was about to be abducted by aliens.
Or be horribly killed in a wreck. Whatever happened first.
"Damn it!" I said out loud. "Damn that extra paycheck! I knew you'd come back to finish the job!" I shook my fist to the sky, as horns beeped and cars swerved.
I exited the highway as soon as I could see anything that even remotely resembled an exit. A few illegal U-turns and profanity-laced prayers later, and I had my wife on the cell phone:
"Hey, are you still at home?"
"Yeah, but I'm just leaving. What's wrong?"
"My alternator died on me in the middle of the highway. My lights are out and my wipers don't work. I'm going to try to make it home, and I guess you're going to have to drive me to work. I have a really important meeting today, and I can't miss it."
"Okay, be careful... third paycheck, huh?"
"Yup. Love you."
"Love you, too."
The Missus left work early, so she could pick me up and drag my car to the repair shop before they closed. One alternator, air filter, transmission fluid flush and oil change later, and the bill came out to $347.
The total cost of an 80GB iPod? $349.
Once again, I broke even. The Curse of the Third Paycheck had struck again.
Well, I get another bonus check in November, maybe I can buy something nice then.
This essay, along with many others just like it, is available in 65 Poor Life Decisions, the debut book by Wisconsin humorist, blogger and raconteur, Ryan J. Zeinert.
I never knew Stephen Colbert put Stickam.com. And why wouldn't he since at crashes at least 3 times per episode of SWF.
I actually did that myself. There was a website that allowed you to create your own "On Notice" board. You can tell I did this two years ago, what with the Sanjaya and Dead Silence references.<< Home