Sometimes life seems like a series of fractured fairy tales. A boxed set. You know the ones. They always begin with the usual hope and reassurance… ”Once upon a time in a Galaxy… far, far away”. But it’s not long before the story goes rogue, wobbles off its axis and starts rolling around the place like an idiot’s eyeball, taking you with it.
Like the “Story of the Chick Magnet” – once upon a time in a strange, far away land called the Jersey Shore, there was a boy who, like all boys everywhere, woke up one morning to find himself cast adrift in a turbulent sea of hormones and confused expectations, secretly hoping that he would one day grow up to be so good looking and charismatic that he would be the last thing the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders thought about when their heads hit their pillows at night and the first thing they thought about when they woke up in the morning.
Then one day after school, he and his friend, Tom, were cleaning out his grandmother’s attic when he came across a strange looking lamp. “Hey, that looks just like Aladdin’s Lamp”, Tom announced with a laugh. “Why don’t you rub it and see if the Genie grants you your wish?” The boy thought for a minute, rubbed the lamp… and waited. Nothing. “What did you wish for?” Tom asked. “Oh… just the usual” the boy replied, a little embarrassed, and back to work they went cleaning up the attic.
Decades later, in another far away kingdom called the “Land of the Cheese Heads”, where the men were men and the women were glad they were… especially on Sunday afternoons when the Packers were playing, the boy, now a man, was working on a sandhill crane chick mortality study (SCMS).
One morning, after hours of stomping around in the marsh searching for crane nests with all the grace and dignity of a blind pig looking for an eggcorn, he dragged his wet, muddy self back to the parking area and sat down, exhausted. And that’s when he suddenly realized he was covered in… TICKS! “Holly Sh*t!” his coworker, Colleen exclaimed. “Looks like you’re a real TICK MAGNET!”
Every fairy tale has a moral. Even the fractured ones. And they’re usually pretty obvious. Like, “If your name is Little Red Riding Hood, don’t crawl into bed with a wolf… unless you’re packing”, or “The early bird catches the worm… but only if there isn’t a giant raptor standing next to it.” However, sometimes they hide within the story like a number in a Rorschach test and must be teased out… carefully.
But one thing is for sure. The next time I rub that damned lamp, I am going to wait a few minutes before I make my wish. That will give the Genie enough time to put in his hearing aids.