Bob grabbed a steel framed umbrella, popped it open and stepped off the porch. In seconds, the downpour had drenched him to the skin in spite of the umbrella, thanks to the gusting winds that drove the rain horizontally. Lightning arced across the sky, illuminating the pitch black into daytime brilliance like a photographer’s strobe. It was a ferocious storm, one of the worst of the year, perhaps even the decade. “Are you nuts?” screeched his wife. She had to yell to be heard over the continuous artillery and machine gun sounds of the rain and ferocious thunder stampeding through the angry sky.
Bob held the umbrella aloft, it’s chromed steel tip poking above the hemisphere of fabric. The deluge ran off the umbrella, forming a watery curtain that surrounded him and obscuring him from sight. Lightning reached down in it’s jagged rush to the ground and struck the trees nearby, struck the power and phone lines running along the street, struck the chain link cyclone fencing surrounding the property. It struck the ground a hundred feet away from where Bob stood defiantly, the umbrella gripped tightly in both of his hands. A particularly large bolt of lightning struck the power pole next to their ranch style home and immediately all of the lights inside died, plunging the building into darkness. More rain and more lightning rampaged as nature unleashed her wrath in the storm. After a few minutes, the house lights blinked on again as the power reset, providing a warm glow that cast outward from the windows. The rain slackened and then quit, the lightning and its partnering thunder marched off into the distance, a meteorological road show on to a new destination.
Bob smiled as he shook the water from the umbrella and snapped it closed. “Works every time,” he said.
“Works? What works?” asked his wife showing incredulity. “Are you out of your mind? Do you even know how dangerous that was? It was like you were asking, no –begging to be struck by lightning. God, I can’t believe you weren’t fried to a crisp!”
“On the contrary, I was guaranteeing my safety by invoking Murphy’s Law. Most people don’t know it but you can actually turn Murphy into an advantage.” Bob replied. He smiled.
“So, your plan was to try to be struck by lightning –in order to prevent it from happening?”
“Indeed. That, and the gruesome truth that I have some of the worst luck imaginable. So I combined that quite purposely with Murphy’s Law in order to achieve defeat, ergo, safety. Plus, I’m very successful.”
“In what way?”
“Every way, of course.”
“You have cancer, your ribs are broken, and you’re living is at the whim of a lunatic congress using your benefits as a hostage. Is that part of your success?”
“I have you, my three kids have all grown to be successful, productive and happy adults, I have a car, a house, and a butt load of robots and radio controlled aircraft I can play with from my wheelchair. In this day and age I’d say that was pretty successful. But actually, I should find a way to complain about all of that.” said Bob.
“Bad luck and Murphy will try to take it all away from me if they realize I’m doing okay in the long run.”
“There’s something about your science that confuses me.”
“It’s pretty clear.” said Bob.
“Not to me, it isn’t.”
“No, I mean the sky. The clouds are leaving.”
“Oh, that’s good.” she smiled.
“Not necessarily…” said Bob.
Apropos of nothing, I ran into this YouTube video of Heart performing a cover of Led Zepplin’s Stairway to Heaven at Kennedy Center Honors Gala. It’s one thing to do a song cover, it’s quite another to do a cover of what the majority of my generation considers the number one rock song of all time –in front of the original artists. John Paul Jones, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page were being honored at the center. Check this out…