My sister recently had surgery for a deviated septum and came home with splints up her nose and a bandage designed by an architect. A couple of days later, her 4-year-old grandson walked in the door, took a look and said, "Looks like you had a bad day." Indeed.
What’s a bad day? It doesn’t take much to constitute one. For women, it can be just bad hair that brings on the gloom. Perhaps it’s when the dry cleaner loses your order. Maybe the new puppy chews up your favorite pair of shoes, or five pairs, as ours did. A bad day is when the oven goes out, and you’ve got dinner guests on the way. It’s a bad day when your computer goes on the fritz the day you’ve got a project deadline. It’s really a bad day when your car runs out of gas in your driveway. And have you ever been headed out for work or a meeting and realized that you’ve lost your keys?
Online at www.getamused.com, there are plenty of humorous suggestions for what defines a bad day. For example, you know you’re having a bad day when your secretary tells you the FBI is on line 1, the DA is on line 2 and CBS is on line 3.
And more: the fortune teller charges you half price; your wife wraps your lunch in a road map; your suggestion box starts ticking; or your birthday cake collapses under the weight of the candles. Maybe it’s when your horn sticks on the freeway and you’re behind 32 Hells Angels motorcyclists.
This one, if true, would send many of us into spasms: your doctor tells you you’re allergic to chocolate. And one more: your blind date turns out to be your ex.
Elsewhere, at buzzfeed.com, were videotaped examples of reporters "having a way worse day at work than you." One reporter, at what appeared to be a city park, was divested of his trousers on camera when a guy ran behind him and yanked them down.
Another reporter was calmly delivering a report in an industrial chicken house while holding a hen that was sitting calmly in his arms. All of a sudden, the chicken leaps upward, spreading and flapping her wings, while we see the reporter running wildly down the corridor away from the camera, his arms flailing like wings.
It was a bad day for a friend of mine, all gussied up in her early years to go partying in a bright new dress and pantyhose back when pantyhose were a new thing. Walking down the street with a friend, she’s feeling awfully confident of herself as the two enjoy an unusual number of catcalls and whistles along the way in downtown Atlanta. But her confidence took a nosedive when she realized that the back of her skirt was caught up in the waistband of her pantyhose. Talk about ruining a day!
When it comes to bad days, the late Hamilton Jordan, chief-of-staff to President Jimmy Carter, knew a lot of them. Three times after leaving the White House, he battled a cancer diagnosis, each one different: prostate cancer, melanoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He experienced dismal days, dire pain and feelings of hopelessness, but also heady exhilaration with each successful treatment and hoped-for remission.
He had plenty of time to evaluate the meaning of his life that included family, a remarkable political career and important philanthropic work.
When in remission in 2000, Jordan authored a book entitled "No Such Thing as a Bad Day," something of which he had become convinced.
He wrote: "A life-threatening disease like cancer is a strange blessing that casts our life and purpose in sharp relief. … After my first cancer, even the smallest joys in life took on a special meaning — watching a beautiful sunset, a hug from my child, a laugh with Dorothy (his wife). That feeling has not diminished with time. After my second and third cancers, the simple joys of life are everywhere and are boundless, as I cherish my family and friends and contemplate the rest of my life, a life that I certainly do not take for granted."
I know — perhaps we all know — too many people right now who are facing down this thing called cancer. Bad days? Yeah, they’ve got them, but I hope and pray they also have many and better days ahead.
As for me, I’ve got no bad days anymore, and I’m not even going to joke about it again. On my computer is this Post-it: "When you change the way you see things, the things you see change."
Barbara Morgan is a Covington resident with a background in newspaper journalism, state government and politics. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.