Is the “Woe-is-Me” Class Comprised of Those by Choice, Circumstance, Both or Neither?

I used to regularly complain to my wife about the “Charlie Brown type” black cloud that rains “bad-luck” down on my life, endlessly. Think I’m kidding? Consider what has happened to me within the past 8 weeks.

Keep in mind that what I am about to describe are various misfortunes that I have experienced within a span of six to eight weeks. Consider that if I were to enumerate all 41 years of my life, the story (misfortune) would be the same boring result.

Foreclosure actions have been initiated on my last two homes. Last week the city of Cincinnati sent me a “work order” demanding that I repair the 100 year old garage falling down in back of my house lest I face legal action. That’s been on the “to do” list since I bought this nightmare five years ago.

They also demanded that I re-hang the 20 foot downspout I removed to strip paint from my brick. If they continue to force the issue, I will do so, only as follows: I will take the downspout that I removed from my box gutters and remount it on the “inside” of my gutter.

Considering my house is about 30′ tall at the gutter line a 20′ foot section of white downspout going up into the sky would look somewhat ridiculous. I’m certain that the city of Cincinnati most assuredly has some stupid ordinance that mandates that the manufactured hole in my gutter must be connected to a downspout. However, I am also willing to bet that the statute doesn’t specify that the downspout actually flow towards the ground.

Therefore, as a homeowner living within the confines of a city riddled with ridiculous ordinances, I can choose to mount the downspout so it goes upwards out of my gutter.
If they wish to force me into re-hanging it, then I will do so in the artistic manner that I desire.

Then, to really confuse the building inspector, I’ll remove the hole where the downspout was supposed to exit from so that section of gutter no longer requires a downspout. In doing so, I will force the City of Cincinnati to write an ordinance prohibiting downspouts from being installed where no hole exists for one, and specifically forbidding homeowners from installing downspouts that travel upwards from a gutter and into the sky. Is it any wonder the state of Ohio despises me?

I was cited for a car accident that was not my fault recently. Also, I was involved in another accident eight weeks prior whereby the insurance companies are still arguing about. I maintain my innocence in that one as well. “I didn’t do it officer!”

As I’m running along side my daughter’s bike four weeks ago (returning from the ice cream stand) I fractured my left tibia and limped the rest of the way home. My basement was flooded with about 15,000 gallons of water two weeks prior to that. Damage was estimated at $15,000 with insurance coverage for damages capped at $4750.

I took my bike out for a ride with my wife last week and got a flat tire on the first ride of the year. When I went out to fix it the next morning, the other tire was flat as well. I fixed both flats and went riding yesterday with my wife and daughter. I happen to look down at one point (and for no particular reason) and to my surprise my front sprocket was bent outwards (away from the bike frame) on a 90 degree angle. As God as my witness I have no idea what happened. Did I mention that my bike was only five days old? Consider it destroyed.

I ordered two motherboards for each of my stepson’s computers recently. Both were defective. For the past five years I have always paid an extra ten dollars to have them tested with their CPU’s prior to shipping. I figured the extra ten bucks was worth not having to go through the process of returning defective parts. I decided for the first time ever not to do this and both boards arrive defective.

The list of misfortune is ongoing and endless. Regarding the metal sprocket on my bike protruding outward 90 degrees from the frame yesterday, my wife asked, “do you think it’s possible that your attitude causes bad things to continually happen to you?” “Sure hon, through the power of my mind alone, I bent the metal bike sprocket 90 degrees, and without my knowledge at that. See anything else I should “will” destroyed?”

Granted, I understand where she was going with that and agree that many people cause some of their own misfortune with their bad attitudes. However, I must draw the line at bending 3 separate “steel” sprockets (unknowingly at that) using telepathy.

I was somewhat dumbfounded that my wife insinuated what she did. Not that I bent steel with my mind and without even knowing I was doing it, but for thinking I have a bad attitude when I’m simply a realist. I told her, that I “no longer” complain about my endless misfortune, I finally acknowledge my misfortune, accept it for what it is and continue happily down the path of life. Grant it, I did used to complain about my nonstop bad luck. I’ve changed however, and I now accept my life for what it is. I no longer complain about it, i don’t feel “cheated” by it, it is simply how my life “plays out” on a daily basis.

One of my stepsons (the 17 year old) was very dejected over the defective motherboards as he was looking forward to his new “gaming box” with great anticipation. After explaining my bicycle mishaps to him my wife inquired of him, “do you think Tony has a black cloud following him?” He responded, “he’s got something following him.”

My wife asked me, “do you think it will ever change?” “No,” was my response. I wasn’t angry, whiny or otherwise complaining in my response, just matter-of-fact. To me it’s as simple as this. For some whacked out reason, God apparently thinks it’s funny that every time I breathe, something stupid should happen in my life. In a way, I feel like God is using me in some kind of weird cosmological experiment for reasons I’ll never understand.

My point in this long-winded missive? I’ve had this string of “bad-luck” for my entire life. I could say it started when I drank lighter fluid ate age two, or when I literally ran through the glass front door and rolled down the concrete porch steps after missing the door handle as a child, or with my parents divorce, or my incredibly abusive childhood, or my father’s untimely death at age nine, or my time in foster care, or my two years spent in an orphanage, or the fact that we were dirt poor, or when I graduated high school with a 1.8 GPA? Does it really matter?

However until recently, I’ve always allowed it to affect who I was and what I could become. In other words, until recently, I have allowed it to limit my potential. How? I have always unconsciously used it as a crutch in my life.

I never denied it, that’s kind of hard to do when your life is one train wreck after another, but I had allowed it to turn me into a reactive versus a proactive person. In other words, I had always lived my life just waiting for the other shoe to drop. If one is a millipede, it can be a considerable amount of time before that last shoe hits.

Today, and thanks to my wife, I am proactive. Grant it, I don’t deny another shoe will drop, I simply don’t “put my life on hold” as I fearfully wait for it. I used to think I’d be able to accomplish more as as an individual just as soon as my luck changed. That said, I would wait, and wait, and wait, until at about age 40 I finally realized this is what my life is always going to be like. My “luck” probably isn’t going to change anytime soon.

Now that I have realized and finally accepted that I’m just like that idiot in Charlie Brown’s world, I have stopped “waiting” for things to change and am changing things myself. I don’t know, maybe some day God will get bored with laughing at me, and decide to use one of the other billions of people on this earth to play his twisted jokes on to humor himself.

Notwithstanding His decision, I’ve decided that I will take what I’ve been given (good and bad) and make the most of what I have by making up for 40 years of lost time.

Have I gotten a “raw deal” in life? The answer to that lies in how one views the opportunities that have been presented to me along the way. Have I been blessed in a sense that I’ve been given more challenges than some others whereby I now have the attitude where I really believe I can do anything? Or, will I refuse to capitalize on the opportunities I’ve been given, claim I’m a victim, argue that life “isn’t fair” and wait for my ship to come in?

At the age of 40, I decided to jump in the water and swim towards my ship because I realized it wasn’t coming in. I already know that when I reach it, it will most assuredly sink. Am I being negative in claiming that? Absolutely not. I don’t need the ship to stay afloat, just a single piece of its debris will work for me.

Tony Fantetti

Ohio Council for Fathers Rights

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