I began the day as a depressed and angry idiot. I ended the day with laughter and rainbows and sunshine. Literally. The lesson: Don’t give up hope.

Bad start to the day.

Arrived at my friend’s house, 40 minutes from my home, having forgotten without my ticket to the Patriots’ game. It requires an incredible amount of stupidity to do such a thing, and I felt like an idiot.

This meant that I would need to drive back home, pick up my ticket, and then drive to the game on my own, battling the traffic that would be building my the time I arrived in Foxboro.

It meant that I would not be driving with my friend, which is frankly one of the best parts of game day. The two hours that we spend in the car together is one of the best parts of my week.

It also meant that I would be paying $40 for parking instead of $10, because I would no longer be sharing the expense with my friend and the two others who we planned to pick up near the stadium.

It also meant that I wouldn’t be parking alongside my friends for our tailgate and would likely be hiking back and forth to their parking spot.

It also meant that I would be parking near the rear of the parking lot, slowing my departure by as much as an hour.

I didn’t think it possible that I could feel any worse. 

Then on the way back home, a police officer pulled me over for speeding.

I had reached the lowest moment of my day.

The police officer asked if I knew how fast I was driving. I did not. I explained that I was angry and hadn’t been paying attention.

He asked why.

I explained that my son had been in the emergency room late last night with a head wound. I showed him a photo on my phone.


I told him that my dog was making my wife crazy at home by barking and scratching, and that she was texting me continuously about it. I showed him the series of angry text messages. 

I told him that I had forgotten my ticket to the Patriots game and had cost myself a drive to Foxboro with my friend and at least two hours of additional driving on my own. 

The officer felt my pain. We talked for ten minutes. He let me go.

From that point on, my day turned around completely.

I arrived home and was able to kiss my daughter, who was asleep when I had left. I told her that I had come home just for her.

She’s five years-old, so she bought it. 

My drive to Foxboro only took 90 minutes. Record time. Surprisingly, there was absolutely no traffic at all. 

On the way to the stadium, alone in my car, I came up with two new ideas for novels. I also prepared and rehearsed a story for an upcoming Moth event and listened to three podcasts. Not as good as driving with my friend, but not bad.

Miraculously, I arrived at the stadium just 15 minutes behind my friends. As I pulled into the lot, the people parked beside my friends decided to move their car, which no one ever does. One of my friends ran up to the parking lot attendant and asked if I could have the spot, and shockingly, he said yes.

The odds that the people parked beside my friends would move their car just as I pulled into the lot are astronomical.

The meal, which consisted of donuts, sausage and peppers, burgers, and dogs, was free (and my friend had planned on it being free all along), saving me the normal $20 food fee and offsetting most of my additional parking fee.


Even though the Patriots were playing a 1:00 game, we had a game to watch on our television while tailgating because Detroit and Atlanta were playing in London. Atlanta was winning 21-0 at halftime, but I told my friends that Detroit would make a game of it in the second half. They scoffed.

Detroit won 22-21.

The weather, which was overcast and cold while we were tailgating, turned sunny and warm as we entered the stadium.


The Patriots routed the Bears. 51-23, and it wasn’t even that close. We laughed and cheered and had a great time. 

Our parking spot in the lot turned out so good that we were on the road by 4:05, and I walked into the house before 6:3o. Record time.

I saw a rainbow on the way home.

I was incredibly sad and angry when I discovered that I had left my ticket at home. The flashing red and blue lights of the police cruiser brought me to the depths of despair.

Then my day turned around completely. The universe smiled on me for a day. For me, this is unusual to say the least.

But it’s a good lesson. Sometimes things can turn around on their own through no effort on your own. Despair can transform into joy when you least expect it.

So don’t give up hope.

“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

Even if you are incapable of making a difference in your own life, the universe can smile upon you at any moment.

Wait for that moment.