Not So Fast, Ben Franklin

Published in the Ferndale Record, March 26, 2014

According to Benjamin Franklin, the only inevitabilities are death and taxes. As much as I admire the man, I disagree. Certainty is all over the place. Here are a few examples.

If you suspect your breath is bad, it is. Your neighbors, no matter how delightful and engaging eventually do something to annoy you. A plant you’ve kept alive for many years will, quite suddenly and without provocation, turn into compost.

When money is tight, you’ll consume lettuce that’s just a little too brown around the edges. You’ll also cut open a toothpaste tube to scrape out what’s left, because you’d rather buy food than toothpaste.

Milk sometimes turns sour before its alleged expiration date. A bird with a bowel disorder will perch on a wire above your freshly washed car. You find yourself in the longest line at the grocery store, bank, or gas station.

Someone, somewhere will help you for no other reason than the fact that you are alive and on his or her daily path. Someone you don’t know will call to inquire about your Internet and phone service. Another someone will quote something you once said to someone else.

A song or sentence will get stuck in your head. Loving another person provides you with your own brand of unimaginable joy and searing pain. Wearing the right glasses helps you see more clearly. Flowers bloom in the spring and leaves fall off trees in autumn.

Corruption in government spans the world. Fraudulent practices and deceptive national leaders are everywhere. One can find perfectly sized pants, but it usually takes more effort than hoped. Sometimes, airplanes disappear – they always have, and they always will.

A doctor will recommend you get a blood test. You will get something in your eye, and it will be irritating. After seeing a particularly good movie or devouring an inspiring book, you’ll say these words to another human being: “You have to see/read this!” You receive an email from Verizon Wireless (insert other carrier name here), even if you don’t use its services. You’ll be curious about the gender of your unborn child.

Cheap motel rooms smell like stale Pall Mall. Queen Elizabeth always carries a purse. People are never the sum of who you think they are. A particularly productive trip to the bathroom changes your day. A phone call, text message, email, or a letter received from the post office will change your life.

New babies cry when they’re hungry. If you’re over 50, staying up until 3:00am, for whatever reason, pretty much makes the next day a complete loss. Baseball is dubbed “America’s Pastime,” but football is more popular. Light and hope dispels darkness and despair. The Xerox copier at your workplace will become, if it isn’t already, a source of woe.

Golden Graham S’mores don’t last for long. Lemon sorbet cleanses the palate. Rooms that house teenage boys smell like a cross between a barn and a locker room. Best friends always disagree on something. And my final two inevitables: The birthday song at Red Robin and the birthday sombrero at your favorite Mexican restaurant.

Oh, and Mr. Franklin, there are plenty more.

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