I’m a lucky man. Ask anyone. My wife certainly regards me as lucky and not just because I find myself married to her. I’m not talking about luck in the form of privilege either. This time round my inherent white-male-born-in-the-west privilege is merely providing a fluky underscore to the blog. I’m lucky in a general sort of a way. I frequently discover money. I win stuff without the knowledge I was even in a position to do so. I have the knack of stumbling into the right place at the right time. I am the very definition of a jammy bastard.
I’ll give you a couple of examples. Firstly, upon finding myself in Manchester one night needing to get to a bar for a friends Birthday it was decided a cab was in order. On the way to the taxi rank I found fifteen pounds on the floor. The cab took us to the venue and it cost fifteen pounds exactly. We tipped the driver a quid, of course, which rather spoils the neatness of the story, I grant you. Never the less; lucky, lucky, lucky me with knobs on.
Secondly, I’ll take you to The Birmingham Acadamy where my friend Chris and I are about to start watching the support act for BareNakedLadies. In order to get to the front easily we’d lined up excruciatingly early and I’d missed my tea. Now if you happen to ask a friend about me (once they’ve finished describing how lucky I am) they’ll tell you how unbearable I can be when I’m hungry. Poor Chris endured five hours of my empty-stomached whining until I spotted a banana perched on one of the mic stands on stage. Almost as soon as I’d said to Chris: “God I could murder that banana.”, a member of the stage crew walked onstage, replaced the banana with a microphone and tossed the fruit into the crowd where it struck me firmly in the chest before landing in my hands. I ate the banana immediately and made it through the gig with wonderfully adequate blood sugar levels. Once again, lucky, lucky, lucky me with knobs and bows on.
I can’t boast constant lottery wins. I won’t be the inspiration for a nauseating film called ‘Lucky Tom’ starring Daniel Radcliff (sadly I think that’s definitely who they’d choose) and nor will I be the subject of scientific research into the nature of good fortune. What I enjoy is a steady dribble of bijou blessings for which I’m very grateful. Unfortunately, that dribble dried up this weekend.
Polly and I took the car (the privilege underscore rises in volume ever so slightly) out to Crystal Palace park yesterday to walk the dog. It was the first time we’d done such a thing since lockdown. When we got back to the car and started it there was clearly something wrong. We eventually ascertained someone had stolen our catalytic converter. They can execute such a theft in seconds apparently and once pinched a converter can fetch a high price because it’s made of valuable metals. It turns out Toyotas and Honda Jazzs (we own the latter) are especially vulnerable to this incredibly common crime. We had to get dear Lexi (of course she has a name) towed home and now Polly and I face a choice between scrapping the old girl or paying around one thousand pounds to get her road worthy. Polly’s Father Graham recently and very sadly passed away and handling this predicament has been made all the harder for Polly as it’s her Dad who she’d usually go to for advice. The whole episode has been a massively inconvenient, hugely expensive and very upsetting piece of shitty, shitty luck.
Thank goodness the weather was pleasant as we waited. Thank goodness we were killing time in a car park rather than on the hard shoulder. Thank goodness we were shielding our eyes from the sun as opposed to the glare of a flaming wreck. Thank goodness we discovered a bottle of water in the boot. Thank goodness we didn’t have any urgent business that day. Thank goodness we were only a short bus ride from home. Thank goodness we don’t really need the car for the rest of the week. Maybe luck, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
Finally, let’s hope whoever stole our catalytic converter is blighted by a steady trickle of incidental bad luck such as treading in dog shit or falling off a cliff every now and then.
I started writing my new play this weekend as I’d intended. I wrote, wait for it, two whole pages. Far from industrious but a start is a start. Until next time; thanks for reading.
Thomas Willshire is a writer/actor/comedian who just about lives in London with his wife, Polly and dog, Fergal. He considers himself the fortunate product of a supportive and loving environment.
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