Monday, April 23, 2012

Destiny's Merry Pranks

Weirdest spring ever.

In "All About Eve", Margo Channing refers to running out of gas as one of destiny's merry pranks. She has no idea that the reason she's missing a curtain call is because her friend drained the gas tank to teach her a lesson in humility. My little town has suffered a bizarre series of misfortunes and every time I receive another blow of bad news, that line is the one I hear and Margo Channing's image, swaddled in her fur and puffing on a cigarette, is the one I see.

Yup, my little town has been the butt of many of destiny's merry little pranks.

What's that you say? Mrs. Cunningham crashed her Buick into the Piggly Wiggly and landed in the deli? One of destiny's merry pranks.

I only wish the blows had been that funny. Oh, and that we had a Piggly Wiggly since neither my Brookshires or Walmart carries fresh spinach. Plus, it's fun to say Piggly Wiggly.

Say it with me.

Piggly Wiggly.

Piggly Wiggly.

Piggly Wiggly.

Now, wasn't that fun? No? Well, you didn't say out loud, did you?

Okay, actually the first gigantic prank played on my town WAS kind of funny. A pipe broke in the ceiling at the high school and flooded the building for hours and hours and hours before it was noticed. The school sat in three feet of water and the district incurred millions of dollars in building and equipment damage. That part wasn't funny but the videos of the high school seniors on their second spring break are genius -- music videos, message videos, art projects, photo journals -- loads of fun. These kids made great use of their free time while other grades had to attend classes in the gymnasium and makeshift classrooms because it was the week of STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) tests. 

Next prank, a tornado. Not just ONE tornado but TWO. An FE3 tornado that wiped out multitudes of homes, hit the OTHER high school and took out an elementary school (I think the school district has a target on its back), and its baby brother tornado that simultaneously hit our downtown area. Seriously. Two tornadoes at the same time. One small town. Ouch.

The next pranks? Too painful to even call pranks. They were tragedies. Tragedy after tragedy after tragedy. A motorcycle accident. A four wheeler accident. A teenage suicide. People we know. People we loved. People who mattered to the community. Loss of life in the most horrible ways.

I know. Loss of life happens. Accidents happen. Crime happens. Tornadoes happen. (but in Hartford, Hereford and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly ever happen) This is the world we live in. But I don't like it.

Perhaps one of the things that makes writing so attractive to writers is that we have absolute control over destiny's merry pranks. We are the creators and the manipulators of our own universes and destiny plays no merry pranks lest we author them. Fate has no power over us. Karma is our slave.

It's therapeutic, don't you think?

As for destiny's merry pranks played on my little town, I blame myself. I should never have started watching "Murder, She Wrote" on Netflex streaming video.

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