- A former student used to give me ground coffee at Christmas, but wrapped in Victoria’s Secret bags so I’d have to carry them through the halls saying, “It’s coffee, I promise, it’s really just coffee.”
- While in Korea last year, we decided to go out during Typhoon Lingling, and my shirt blew straight up.
- One foggy morning back when I was teaching, I accidentally hit a bird with my car on the way to school. Feeling sad but thinking little of it throughout the day, I was shocked in the afternoon to discover half a bird stuck to the grille of my car, an ominous smear up the hood, and one lone feather affixed to the antennae. Unfortunately, I’d parked in a prominent spot near the school office, and everyone saw. Even worse, I’d been teaching “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” that day. The students watched closely for the next week to see what bad luck would befall.
- When my twin nieces were five years old, they were quite concerned that I didn’t have a family of my own. I went for a visit and found pictures of little kids cut out from magazines and left on the guest bed. “Those are coupons for you, Aunt Ruth! So you can buy some children!”
- One time when we were out at Ocean Beach in California, we got grub burgers and then walked down the beach to the pier. That’s when someone noticed I’d accidentally sat on a slice of processed cheddar cheese, which was still plastered to the back of my skirt. It had hardened to a crusty cement, and it took two people helping to peel it off.
- Once while in France, I got up in the middle of the night, tripped over a slight ledge in the kitchen, and went sprawling into the living room. When someone in my group asked what that noise was in the middle of the night, I started telling the story (angling for some sympathy) and our waitress overheard and started laughing at me. The waitress.
- During the year that I lived and taught in China (pre-cell-phone days), I’d been downtown all day and was unaware of a problem with our apartment that would leave me locked out for the next few hours. A friend thoughtfully tried to alert me to the issue (and save me a long walk to our apartment on back campus) by leaving me a note attached to a bush at our bus stop. A note. In a bush.
Her: But I left you a note! Didn’t you see it?
Me: A note? Where?
Her: I stuck it in a bush!
- Some time ago, I was taking care of nieces and nephews while their parents were away. The kids passed around the stomach flu. One by one, they all started vomiting. It was like a bad dream. “That’s it!” I told them dramatically. “No one else is allowed to throw up!” Twenty minutes later, I threw up.
- Once while on a first date, I climbed into a hollow tree.
- While on a road trip in the Southwest, a friend and I rented a car with weird bumps on the steering wheel. Later, she admitted that she thought the notches were Braille. On the steering wheel. (Braille. On the steering wheel.)
- My sister and I once sneaked into a public performance of one of my plays. As the lights came up for the intermission, we heard the lady sitting behind us hiss, “This play is weird.”
- The same sister also once hacked into my cell phone, imitated my voice, and changed my outgoing message to something super long and pretentious, and I didn’t notice for six months. Six months.
- I recently did a Skype talk with a high school class about writing, and accidentally ended with, “Okay, I love you, BYE!”
- When I was little, I slid down a sloping outside cellar door and filled my backside with splinters. I didn’t tell my mom until she was tucking me into bed at night. When she asked why I waited so long to say anything, I told her I’d been saving it as a surprise.
- While driving my sister home from church, I witnessed an accident. I immediately slammed on the brakes and hit the horn. Bethany, who had been quietly reading a book in the passenger’s seat, looked up to behold….. nothing. Two clear lanes of traffic and a sunny sky stared back at us. That’s because the accident had happened a few blocks behind us. The fact that I had seen it in the rear-view mirror didn’t register with me until after I’d already slammed on the brakes and hit the horn.
One time, Bethany and I had to move three heavy wooden wardrobes out of a trailer and into a barn with the help of a hand truck with partially-deflated tires. Although we survived, we made several mistakes while moving the first one and nearly crushed ourselves.
Me: Maybe it would help if we tied the wardrobe doors shut. That way they won’t flop open and throw the balance off.
Her: Good call.
Me: Do you have any rope?
Her: Hold please. (Returns carrying a tiny length of twine.)
Me: Um, that’s not enough.
Her: Sure it is. (Ties handles shut.)
Me: I never would have thought of that.
Her: Thought of what? This was your idea.
Me: I mean just tying the handles together.
Her: (Nonplussed) What would you have done?
Me: Looked for enough rope to go all the way around the wardrobe.
Me: SHUT UP!
Everyone, please stay safe during this crazy time. Do what you can to take care of the people around you as best you can, and trust God to take care of you.
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