Archived Story

Bad things don’t happen in threes

Published 12:39pm Monday, August 27, 2012

Wednesday started out like a normal day. It wasn’t until lunchtime when things really began to sour.

I was on the way back from lunch when I pulled up at the traffic light beside Sonic in downtown Alexander City when the first puckering event took place.

The light turned red. The Charter van in front of me came to a stop. I did, too, about three feet behind him. While I was waiting for the light to change, I reached down to pick up my phone that had slid off the seat and was on the floorboard.
There must be some sort of puppet-string connection between the waist and the foot. As I bent over to pick up my phone and before I could even return to an upright position in the driver’s seat, there was a bang and my truck rocked briefly and I realized that the front of my truck and the back of the Charter van had … merged.

That’s No. 1.

No. 2 occurred seconds later, after I realized that I had rear-ended a van in the middle of town, said a word not suitable for a family newspaper, opened my door and saw that John Dark, my auto insurance provider, was directly behind me.

Johnny was driving a Jeep, one of those Cherokee rigs open to the elements so the driver is really in touch with the environment. He heard and saw everything. His Jeep was rocking, too.

A good laugh will do that.

As it turned out, a very nice policeman who came to our aid said there wasn’t any damage – my BAMA tag on the front of the bumper is a little wavier than before but that was about all the damage you can do with a 3-foot running start and no gas pedal action – and therefore we didn’t need an accident report.

The Cable Guy and I parted friends.

A few hours later, Betsy Iler and I went to the Ridge Marina to shoot Ben Watts wakeboarding for the September edition of Lake magazine. We got in my boat, I turned the key and the engine laughed at me. Wah-wah-wah.

That’s No. 3.

The battery was dead, not dead enough to click or remain silent. Just dead enough to laugh at me. We had to meet Ted and Ben Watts and Sawyer Davis out on the lake and needed two boats for the photo shoot. But I had a cell phone, and through the miracle of modern telecommunications I let Ted know about the problem and arranged for the good folks at the Ridge Marina bring down a new battery. While we were waiting, Betsy and I were sitting in the boat talking. I was in the driver’s seat. I had my hand up near my face and made one of those unconscious talking-with-your-hands gestures, and my fingers just caught the inside edge of my sunglasses. Maui Jim’s. With built-in reading glasses. A real luxury for a guy who likes to drive and see the dashboard at the same time.

The light-as-a-butterfly Maui Jims lifted off my face, cleared the top of the driver’s side windshield and splashed down in the small space between the boat and the dock with pinpoint accuracy. It was an Olympic-quality high jump and No. 4.

I tried to get my watch and shoes off, fully intending to jump in and rescue the sinking shades. I made a not-so-Olympic-quality high jump over the edge of the boat and onto the dock, but by the time I got there, the water under my boat was just green. Not a fading Maui Jim-shaped dark spot in sight down there.

I did, however, learn that there was enough juice in the boat battery to power the depth finder. At that point, the glasses were probably still on the way down to the lake floor 52.5 feet below my boat.

They say bad things happen in threes. It ain’t true. Sometimes it happens more often and then stops as suddenly as it started.

After my glasses sank the folks from the marina installed a new battery and we had a wonderful time watching Ben and his wakeboard defy gravity on a perfect Lake Martin afternoon.

That sound you hear is me knocking on my wooden desk.

Boone is publisher of The Outlook.

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