I guess I believe in the wheel of fortune. I don’t mean the game show, because I am really tired of that show and I can’t believe it’s still on the air. I was a tiny child when it first came on and my grandmother would eat crackers and cheese and she’d shout out answers and call all the contestants idiots. My poor grandma has been dead for over a decade. The show goes on…
Wait. I’m talking about the medieval “Lady Fortuna.” The philosophical notion that we’re all on a spinning wheel and sometimes we’re lucky and sometimes we’re unlucky and we go around and around and have little control and so all we can do is shrug and say, “I can’t control that. So it goes… So it goes…”
Oh yes. I have had good years and I have had bad years.
Woo! In 2007, I got a book contract and my radio show was picked up by public radio and money flowed in and I thought: My ship is here, baby! I bought some nice furniture.
What?! In 2008, my radio show was done and the economy went south and my editor was laid off and my hot water heater exploded and ruined a bunch of my tenants’ junk and I ran up credit card debt just to stay alive. I thought: We’re all gonna die!
We did not all die.
Bad luck didn't come from bad behavior. Really, I am not in control of my water heater or my publisher or the economy. Crap happens. Instead of freaking out, I needed to shrug. Get to work. Keep plugging away. Instead, I began to eat at Taco Bell almost daily, because I was trying to fill the hole in my heart.
And then, for no apparent reason, things got better! And then worse! And then better!
Here’s what I’ve noticed, though: as long as I keep working hard, good stuff happens more often than not. Here’s also what I’ve noticed: If I eat at Taco Bell too much, I don’t fit in my pants and I don’t want to leave the house, because my pants don’t fit and I find that embarrassing. I can control trouble caused by Taco Bell.
Yes, luck comes to those who work hard. I have a higher percentage of lucky days if I work hard. But I always try to keep in mind, especially when I’m high on the smell of my own sweet success: the wheel of fortune is spinning and bad stuff is going to happen and that’s as big a part of life as anything. I also have to remember this: don’t worry about the various trouble you can’t control. Face the trouble. Nod at it. Get back to work.
Also, don’t go to Taco Bell.
-- Geoff Herbach