I remember glibly pronouncing to my mother, that every day is a blessing and people should be grateful. She looked a bit rueful, perhaps not wanting to pop my bubble, and said quietly that I may come to think differently. I had not yet come into intimate contact with a full-out bad day, or maybe like the Queen said in 2011, 365 of them in a row. An annus horriblus.
My expectations might partially be ascribed to growing up within the orbit of word-faith thinking. Word-faith has been made famous by such TV notables as Kenneth Copeland and Joel Osteen, who propose that to get something, you have to speak it into being magically, by the power of your intentions. Such is supposed to be the purpose of faith. If you wince at those names, just think of a popular book which recently made the rounds a few years back called “The Secret”, which suggested pretty much the same thing. It’s not just a TV preacher kind of thing.
The truth is this philosophy works, only until you have a truly bad day. Then you realize you can’t just wish it away.
Having a bad day, is pretty human, and when you run into one, you will know it. It might be the classic case of getting up on the wrong side of the bed, where the best thing you can do is go back to bed at the end of the day, and forget that the previous 24 hours even happened. Let me tell you about a somewhat comedic bad day. Maybe mine will make you feel better about the the kind of day you are having today.
One evening I remembered that the next morning would be trash day. I thought to get a jump on things, rather than the usual comedy where I am chasing the garbage truck in my pyjamas and trying to get them to take my recycle. So I put the trash out pre-emptively the night before. I had just cleaned the garage, and so I had two very large garbage bags, industrial size. I reasoned that no raccoon is going to go after dry garbage, so I put them out on the curb in the dark along with the recycle bins, thinking to watch them take everything away the next morning at my leisure, drinking coffee.
But… I woke up to a bad day. Turns out, someone had sneaked a few bags of wet garbage and food scraps into my big bag of garbage, and had also tucked bloody meat trays into the recycle bin. The smell brought raccoons… or skunks. They had torn the big bag of trash apart, and there was a trail of trash extending two doors down, either side. The animal had also overturned the recycle container and the contents were scattered all over the road. There was nothing to do but look the fool while I dodged cars in my pyjamas, up and down the road picking up my trash. I had to return everything to the garage because the truck had already come and gone.
I went to replace the recycle bags in the garbage bin under the kitchen counter, and the wire caddy I had installed to store bags and other cleaning paraphernalia came off its tracks. It turns out the weld was broken. I had to go under the counter and remove everything. The formerly clean kitchen suddenly became a conspicuous display of clutter that hitherto had been safely put away. I Googled the wire storage bin, and discovered is was not cheap. A replacement would cost me $75, all for the sake of a bad weld. Then I noticed there was a leak dripping from the drain pipe under the sink. It was not even eight o’clock in the morning yet. You get my drift. It was a day getting off on the wrong foot, all round.
There are some days which will not turn out OK no matter what you might do. But I took a deep breath and resolved that I would do what I could before the end of the day to make the bad day just a bit better. I returned home to make sense of the disarray with which the day had begun. I drilled and tapped holes for screws in the aluminum caddy, and epoxied the tracks on for good measure. Fortunately, that worked. I also fixed the leak. It was not as bad as it might have been, nothing to be replaced, just a loose coupling which had to be tightened up.
It burned up an evening I would rather have spent doing something more fun. All in all, I would count that as a 50% save. I couldn’t take back the frustration, but at least I had been able to remedy some things going forward. And I am wiser about trash day.
I am no longer naive enough to imagine that you can wish away your share of troubles in life. Like you, by now I have had a few legitimately bad days. In fact, I have had a few annus horriblus like the Queen, to boot. Bad days are relative, as you find out in the course of living. Sometimes there is nothing to be done but burn the crops, salt the fields, move on and count it a loss. So in the aggregate let’s be thankful for bad days which can be even partially remedied. Not everything can be made better with a bit of sweat equity, but thank God for the those things which can.