Following the recent reappearance of my brother after a five year disappearance and the presumption that he was dead, one of my friends asked, “Why does stuff like this happen to you more than anyone else I know?” “What do you mean?” I asked.
He went on to explain that I have lived a life full of strange, unfortunate, pathetic and unbelievable moments.
Near-death experiences, an arrest and trial for a crime I did not commit, armed robberies, a suspension for inciting riot upon myself, and much, much more.
He went on to point out that even my career in publishing, my recent success with live storytelling, and achievements like being named Teacher of the Year contribute to the sense of an unusual life.
I suggested that everyone probably has stories akin to mine, but being a writer and a storyteller, mine are simply delivered in a more memorable fashion.
He didn’t buy it, and to be honest, I'm not sure if I do, wither. While I certainly know people whose lives have been at least as strange and diverse as mine, they are few and far between. For reasons that continue to elude me, it would appear that I was destined to lead a less-than-ordinary-and-frequently-challenging existence.
Sometimes this means that I spend 18 months sharing a room with a pet goat in the home of a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Sometimes this means I end up living in my car.
Sometimes this means I take up residence in a walk-in closet with a woman on a strictly platonic basis (though I admittedly was hoping for more).
Sometimes this means that I find myself living above a dog that was named after me.
These are stories only associated with housing (and not the only ones). The list of oddities, tragedies and rare victories is endless and growing.
Professional golfer Martin Kaymer’s remarkable hole-in-one reminded me of a recent this-could-only-happen-to-me moment on the golf course.
I was playing golf for the first time in this season, stuck in a sand trap, and I had already tried three times to launch the ball onto the green. Each time, the ball struck the lip of the trap and rolled back in.
On my fourth attempt, the ball struck the edge of the trap again, but this time, for reasons I cannot explain, it ricocheted straight up into the air. Unable to see the ball, I stood still, expecting to watch it come down in the rough on the far side of the green. Instead, it came straight back down, striking the brim of my hat, freezing there for a full second and then slowly rolling off my hat back into the trap at my feet.
It was a one-in-a-billion shot that I could never reproduce again if I tried. I had somehow managed to hit a ball that ultimately hit me.
In my five years of playing golf, I have hit some of the most horrendous shots in human history, but I have never seen someone come even remotely close to hitting themselves with the ball, let alone having it land on the brim of a hat like a dying pigeon.
My friend, Andrew, fell over in laughter upon watching it happen.
And rightly so. A shot as ridiculous and terrible like this never happens.
Unless you are me.