Patrick Ward words, code, and music

The Undeterred Optimist

This morning I get up and find the toilet’s been leaking all night. There’s an inch of water seeping under the door and out into the carpeted hallway. As I’m sloshing through the bathroom to turn off the water, I look over to see my cat making a quick exit from the same vicinity. Peering below the porcelain bowl, I see a hearty stew of fur balls, last night’s Fancy Feast, and half a cockroach perched artfully atop the meaty mess. It is slowly eroding in the swirling waters of the toilet’s overflow. I look over at the cat now sitting safely in the hallway. She stares back content, with bright green eyes; licking little bits of organic matter off the tip of her nose.


So, I turn off the toilet’s water valve and huff my way downstairs to gather up cleaning supplies. While I’m down there, I notice a dark discoloration emanating from the ceiling. As I follow the curious blemish down the wall, I find it ends in a pool of foul smelling water at the tip of the baseboard. Good lord, I think, that’s toilet water!

How unfortunate, I think, but there is little I can do about it now. So, I decide it would be a good time to hop up to the cafe for a quick espresso, relax a little, and think about how this little plumbing situation can be resolved. There are certainly worse things that can happen. I might as well enjoy my morning, I remind myself.

So, I gather up my belongings, perch my favorite baseball cap upon my head and make my way to the garage. Yet, as I press the button to the garage door nothing happens. I press it again, to no avail. I wonder, is the electricity out? Is there an electrical short? No matter what I do, the garage door will not open.

However, undeterred from enjoying my morning coffee, I decide to use the cable release and manually lift the door up. As I’m lifting the door, I hear a loud metallic clang followed by several short snaps. I quickly stop to look around, but cannot see from where the ghastly sound was coming from. Not having found the source, I continue to lift the door of the garage, when it suddenly breaks free of my grip and comes crashing down in a cacophony of glass and metal, slamming it’s heavy body down upon the roof of my car!

Luckily, I was standing far enough outside the door, that I was able to escape any bodily injury of my own. Yet, out from under a cloud of dust I could see that my jinxed vehicle had lost it’s fight against the mighty metal door.

Heavens to Murgatroyd, I exclaim! That could have been the end of me!

Yet, once again, I refused to be discouraged, and so set off on foot to fetch my sought after libation. As I’m walking along the busy road, keeping well within the confines of the pedestrian sidewalk, a large chemical truck filled with radioactive waste suddenly hits a pothole, careens off the curb, and lands sideways directly in front of me! As I jump to avoid the truck, I’m suddenly covered in a gooey green liquid, which has spilled outward from the truck’s cylindrical payload. It has the consistency of dishwashing liquid and smells like burnt rubber. I hurriedly check to make sure the driver is okay, and then reach for my phone. To my great dismay, I realize that my phone has somehow been lost in all the confusion. So, I tell the driver that I am going for help and begin to run down the sidewalk, leaving a trail of green, soapy droplets along the path.

As I rush into the nearest shop, which happens to be the very cafe I was seeking out, I notice that the gooey liquid covering me has already started to dry up. How lucky, I marvel! And then ask the barista to please call 911 regarding the accident I just witnessed, and would he also please start me a double espresso.

Figuring that there is no rush to get back to the accident scene, I decide to sit outside and drink my espresso before heading back. The driver was okay, and no one else was injured, I reason, so there’s no reason for me to miss out on a good cup of quality caffeine.

While I’m sitting there, I notice a jovial fellow coming towards me along the sidewalk outside the little row of shops. He’s whistling a tune and slapping his hands against the overhead signs in front of each storefront. The signs swing in the gentle breeze. It’s a catchy little tune he’s singing. And, I’m mesmerized watching him, as he uses the tinny signs to keep his beat, smacking each with a rythmic thwack as they swing to and fro.

I find myself smiling at this upbeat fellow. Yet, just on the downbeat of his trippy little tune, a hefty gust of wind blows the next sign horizontal. So that, as his right hand is coming down across the sign his fingers meet at the most improbable point upon the metal’s sharp edge, slicing all but his thumb clean off the edge of his hand. The fingers go tumbling across the asphalt of the parking lot, twitching like tiny breakfast sausages on a hot skillet. This poor fellow, so cheerful and full of sunshine just moments before, is now writhing in agony as he clutches at the bloody stumps where his fingers used to be.

I quickly gather up the little sausage fingers and bring them into the cafe, where I ask the barista to please put them on ice and would he please call 911 for yet another accident. I then proceed back out the door, take a sip of my espresso, and go to comfort that unfortunate soul while we wait for the ambulance to arrive.

As I’m holding him, giving him comfort and keeping him from succumbing to the shock, I remind him that with today’s medical advances they can repair his fingers, that he can have them back good as new. Through the anguish and the pain, he tells me that yes, he knows, as he is indeed a surgeon himself. I think, how wonderful! Then, you have nothing to fear. Yet, it is at this point, that my unlucky friend begins to tell me that he is indeed the only surgeon within 500 miles who can perform the surgery needed to replace his hapless fingers. In fact, his previously joyous exuberance was the result of having successfully performed the very same surgery he now needs himself.

After some time, the ambulance comes and takes our ill-fated doctor off to an unknowable future for his severed fingers. Yet, as they are taking him away I begin to think how lucky I am for having made it through the morning with all of my digits and still able to sip upon my delectable espresso.

This, I think, could be the start of a wonderful day.