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Hay’s Daze: Stuff happens

Stuff happens. It’s a well know expression perhaps better known for a different noun at the beginning, also starting with “S”. But it only has four letters. Either way, sometimes it’s the very definition of life, and the stuff that happens can be very very challenging. But I’m thinking more about the stuff that is just plain funny or awkward. The kind of thing that causes us to just give our head a shake or really really hope that nobody’s watching.
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Stuff happens. It’s a well know expression perhaps better known for a different noun at the beginning, also starting with “S”. But it only has four letters. Either way, sometimes it’s the very definition of life, and the stuff that happens can be very very challenging. But I’m thinking more about the stuff that is just plain funny or awkward. The kind of thing that causes us to just give our head a shake or really really hope that nobody’s watching. And if you’re like me, these kinds of things happen pretty much daily.

Stuff like looking all over for your glasses until you finally find them – and you know where – that’s right, pushed up on the top of your head. Or even worse – you are already wearing them! Put your hand up if you’ve tried to get into somebody else’s car in a busy parking lot. My good old Better Half has done that, and she has done that more than once. More than twice, actually. And on at least one occasion there was a rather worried person already in the car when the B.H. was yanking on the door handle.

And of course, a parking lot is a virtual breeding ground for embarrassing moments. Like the old joke: “What’s the definition of ‘getting lucky’? Answer: “Finding your car in the parking lot.” (Cue rimshot.) How many of us have driven around a huge parking lot at, say, Costco, and end up having to park about five kilometers away, only to find walking back to the store several perfect spots near the entrance have somehow opened up?

In a related bit of awkwardness, how many times have you pulled up to the pumps at a gas station, climbed out of the car only to find the gas cap is on the ‘wrong’ side of the car? How about waiting a long time in a very long lineup at, say, Canadian Tire, only to find out you’re in the wrong lineup. (This is “Returns” not “Check Out”!)

And then there’s the brain freeze moments. Going to the refrigerator, opening it up, standing there staring for a while, then closing the door and walking away. Not because you can’t find anything you want to eat, but because you can’t for the life of you remember why you went to the fridge in the first place. Driving to work on Sunday, thinking it’s Monday. Introducing someone and completely forgetting their name. Double checking, then triple checking, then leaving the house but always forgetting something. And here’s a good one: You are walking along and you trip and in case someone is watching you turn your stumble into an “intentional” slow jog walk. A nice try, but…

Just the other day I had an odd example of “stuff happens” pretty much knock me right over. Literally, in fact. We were having a break from band rehearsal and went to sit on the nice outdoor deck attached to the rental space. The guys were sitting around the table with a beverage and as I plunked down in the lawn chair, I leaned back and just kept going! The chair rotated straight backwards with me in it, and I went for a ride until I slammed onto my back, sitting there in a horizontal chair staring at the sky wondering what the hell just happened.

It turned out the two back legs of the chair slotted into the gap between the deck floorboards and disappeared into the space under the deck and over I went. As I lay crumpled there I wondered if I’d have to drive to the hospital. If only I could remember where I parked my car.

Harley Hay is a Red Deer author and filmmaker. You can send him column ideas to harleyhay1@hotmail.com.