The Gods and Their Joystick-Riding Ways

“The gods are on my side today,” I muttered while heading out on yesterday’s gloriously sunny day to give my lawn a much-needed mowing. It had rained most of the previous week and as late as Friday, the weatherman was promising even more.

What struck me about that moment was my referral to those unnamed “gods” who constantly play with the joystick attached to my video-game-mimicking life. I don’t really think of them as omnipotent in the Christian sense, or for that matter, even the deities of ancient Roman or Greece. But it sure feels like someone is poking a finger into my affairs.

Here’s just one of many examples:

A lot of years ago, I owned a small business in Corvallis, Oregon. It was the first of the month and I had something like $10,000 in bills due by the tenth, and another eight thousand in quarterly tax deposits due five days later. I opened my checkbook (Yes, this was in the dark days before QuickBooks!) and discovered my balance was a heart-stopping $32.00. A quick check showed my line of credit was maxed, and it was doubtful my bank was going to up the limit.

Where would the money come from? Cash flow in the latter half of the previous month had slowed to a trickle, and would never be enough to cover even half of what I owed. I thought of selling blood, but that wouldn’t generate much cash. It was doubtful my employees would let me sell theirs.

I was resigned to paying off what I could and letting my business go down in inglorious and humiliating bankruptcy. (This was also back in the days when bankruptcy was considered degrading, and not a “strategy” for getting out of debt.)

And then someone grabbed my life’s joystick and pulled back sharply. Business surged, and my till flowethed over. The pile of bills was whittled down until I wrote the final eight-thousand-dollar tax deposit check on the fifteenth. Ironically, I still had the original $32.00 showing.

And the very next day, the joystick was pushed forward, and business slowed down again.

The gods, whoever they are, must be having a great time playing with my life.

Tell me that’s not the workings of a warped mind.

Clifford M. Scovell
Prison Earth – Not Guilty as Charged


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