The sign above the door read as follows:
Hanksworth W. Britcheschaps, Mishap Collector.
Normally I would pass a store like this without a second glance. However, the phrase “Mishap Collector” justified three glances and an abnormal failure to pass. I eagerly pushed open the door and stepped inside. Just a few feet past the front door was a second door. I could see the owner shuffling around through the glass pane in the middle. He yelled something indistinguishable to me from behind the glass.
”What?” I yelled back.
He took the fishbowl off of his head. “I said if you’re looking for a mishap, come on in! I’ve got more than enough to go around. All sales are final though, so if you accidentally get something you didn’t want, then it sucks to be you.”
The bell on the inner door was broken, and as I twisted the handle and planted my left foot forward, the door finally earned freedom from its hinges and landed on the owner with a resounding ‘THWUMPF,’ killing him instantly. I hurried back outside, tripping over a pile of garden gnomes and getting struck by lightning en route.
This, incidentally, is why I rarely go shopping on Wednesdays. Strange things always happen. Thankfully today is Tuesday, so I can classify the unexpected events included in today’s excursion as “bizarre” instead of “strange,” and I won’t have broken my streak.
It’s not widely known, but the secret to having an effective, continuous running streak of any sort is to mislabel the requirements of said goal. For instance, if you intend to never take a left turn for the rest of your life, and you want to prove your achievement, here’s the simple solution. Create a file to record every turn you make. This file should consist of the following directional labels: “Up,” “down,” “right,” “wrong,” “vaguely northeastish,” “sour,” and “for the worse.” Because there is no “left” included in the file, any turn you make that might otherwise be considered so will instead be likely filed under “wrong” or “sour.”
Voila! You have completed your goal and technically avoided making left turns. You have also wasted a bunch of time recording data towards an utterly meaningless goal. You have already wasted plenty of time reading about said meaningless goal, so I must recommend that you choose something more purposeful if you intend to create a file to redefine your actions. Perhaps you could spend the rest of your life attempting to live under the delusion that you never read this. If you succeed, then you have used my logic to cancel itself out. Congratulations, you’re well on your way to an asylum.
Unwanted digression or no, you may consider reading the rest of this tale. Ahem.
As I traipsed down the street, I was suddenly aware that there were a few important signs I had failed to notice previously. The first clearly read “NO TRAIPSING.” The second had a picture of my face and said “WANTED FOR TRAIPSING A FEW SECONDS AGO.” The third sign was a drawing of me reading the third sign, with the subtitle “THIS IS WHAT HE IS CURRENTLY DOING.”
The law enforcement, in an unusually prompt manner, had put me in jail while I was reading the sign, so as I turned away from the poster to make a break for it, I came face-to-face with the bars of the prison cell I was locked in. Regrettably my encounter with the iron bars was at full “making a break” speed. When I regained coherence, the constable was outside my cell eating an apple.
“Excuse me, sir… I think there may be a mistake,” I said to him.
“Oh, what mistake is that?”
“This sign depicts a man reading the sign that the sign depicts. And so on.”
“I am not currently reading that sign, so clearly I can’t be the person you’re looking for.”
“…I suppose you’re right. You’re free to go.”
“Thanks. I’ll see you on Thursday, Dad.”
“All right. Don’t forget to take out the trash in Cell Block F. Give your mother this note for me.” He handed me a slip of paper with a moderately accurate drawing of a fairly inaccurate sculpture of a rhinoceros.
Of course after all this nonsense there is no clear moral to share, except that I have determined something about my near future.
Tomorrow it will be Wednesday, and I won’t go shopping.