Monday, January 31, 2005

Bad Luck: Universe 6, Me 0

My Clinical Depression colors my perceptions a bit, so a few years ago I began a radical treatment to improve my outlook on life: I decided to think more positively. Yeah, I know. Really radical… So by writing this blog I hope to renew again that effort. I also hope to laugh a bit at myself and maybe relax a little. That's why I chose to list "Bad Luck" in the topics I'd cover here (Another topic was "Foot Odor", but that was vetoed by my wife). My luck is so extreme that it's funny. I'll prove that here over the next few months. You see, I tend to believe that either God or the Universe is out to get me. That's why so many unusual things happen to me. I used to think that it was just my imagination — that I was just feeling sorry for myself. But my friends and family have corroborated it. They were skeptical at first, but soon the evidence swayed them. Everyone has bad luck, but the frequency at which things go wrong for me is really noteworthy. I've never met anybody like me in this regard except in the funny papers. I should state, however, that I draw a distinction between bad luck and tragedy. Bad luck to me refers to all those tiny, annoying events that might cause one to have a bad day as opposed to real tragedy such as that experienced by hundreds of thousands in Indonesia last month. That's why I try to find humor in it. Stupid things happen and you deal with it because in the cosmic scale of things I'm still far ahead of so many people who haven't been so lucky.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how my DV Camcorder developed a problem just one week out of warranty. On its own that doesn't seem so unlucky. Everybody's had that happen to them once or twice, right? One could almost say that such events are almost typical. So let's talk about my PalmOne Zire72 instead. Quite a few unlucky individuals discovered last year that their Zire72s started peeling. PalmOne covered the Zire72s with a soft, textured skin, but made the foolish mistake of trying to bond this skin onto metal. I'm not sure what they were thinking. With casual friction the skin begins to lift and peel away. Looks snazzy. Many forums on the internet were filled with angry venting by disillusioned Zire72 owners. I could kick myself for not researching that before I bought mine. My Zire72 began peeling within a few days, not weeks as others had reported. But by that time I had discovered those aforementioned forums and that PalmOne was replacing these defective units with ones that had a better paint job. I opted to go that route instead of returning it because there was no other model that had the features I wanted that didn't cost more money. So back to Palm it went, at my expense. Although I was promised a 5-7 day turn around, 16 days was the real result and my new Zire72 did indeed have a different paint job. This time it only started peeling again after two weeks. Fast forward to last Friday and the paint is hanging off my PDA in straggly strands. VERY professional looking, I must say. After a long and drawn out conversation with indecipherable tech support in Bangladesh, I convinced Palm to send me a new Zire72. This time I get to keep my PDA until the new one arrives, and the tech guy assured me that this was very unusual and nobody has had this much trouble with the peeling problem. My third Zire72 in less than six months is going to be a winner. Sure it is.

Now, I know what you're thinking. This doesn't prove anything. Even the cynic in me doesn't believe I'm the only person who this is happening to. I didn't have to do much convincing to get that replacement. Others had paved the way for me. It's unlucky, but not any more unlucky than the other shlubs who bought this lemon. I probably shouldn't even bother then talking about how my printer failed two days ago as well. That's three defective devices in one month. But I'm sure it is not enough for you. Let's move on to Blockbuster.

I signed up to Blockbuster's DVD home delivery service last month. I have to say that I have been very pleased with the service and find it perfectly tailored to my family's disorganized way of watching movies. We had singlehandedly supported Blockbuster through the downturn in the economy because of all our late fees. I swear, we could NEVER get a movie back in time. I would have been more excited about their new policies on late fees if I hadn't already discovered this DVD service. But I do have one complaint: the mailers they use are too thin to protect the disks. At any rate, here is where I begin to think that there is Intelligent Design in the misfortune I experience. I have rented quite a few movies using this service receiving new disks in the mail with no problem even as recently as last week, but one movie, and one movie only, is giving me trouble. I wanted to see the original Ladykillers. For one reason, I like classics, and for another I don't watch too many R rated movies — of which the remake with Tom Hanks was one. So when the disk arrived and I discovered it was cracked in the middle, I was disappointed. But no worries. I clickety clicked on the web site, reported the damage, reordered the movie, and sent the cracked disk back to them. A few days later the replacement arrived. This, too, was cracked in the middle. Odd. Clickety click, I started the swapping process again. So today the third copy arrived. This was also cracked in the middle! Instead of getting mad, I just laughed. This is typical for me. Of course it would be cracked. Either some postal worker out there has it in for "The Ladykillers" or the Universe doesn't want me watching this movie. Now I have a dilemma. I could just clickety click a new one my way and take my chances, but I risk getting my account red flagged. Paranoid thinking? No, just experience. Somebody out there in bean counting Blockbusterland is going to decide that I have something against "The Ladykillers" and am taking it out on their property. I'll probably just reorder it anyway because that sounds paranoid even to me, and I'm curious now how long this string of misfortune will stretch out.

So, a useless DV Camcorder with a stuck cassette tape, my second "improved" PDA with peeling problems, a printer that suddenly clogged so badly that all 7 nozzles couldn't print, and 3 copies of "The Ladykillers" with a personally tailored crack for my enjoyment. And this is just January! 2005 is shaping up to be an interesting year. Of course, I have bizarre good luck too. I win contests, get movie standees, meet celebrities, get out of speeding tickets, etc. I've come to believe that when I experience bad luck it is just the Universe trying to overcompensate for something that went right for me previously. I guess this means that February might be a pretty fantastic month. LOL If you think I'm overreacting, tune in throughout the year and you'll see that I'm not, but until then I'd love to read about your experiences with bad luck in the comments section if you think you can top me. I could use the pick me up.

As for my battle with the Universe in January I'll have to concede defeat, but we'll have a rematch next month.

Update: Thursday, February 3, 2005 12:40:27 PM Check these out. My fourth copy of Ladykillers arrived from Blockbuster Online today complete with personalized crack. LOL This is too funny. I'm going for a fifth one.