I had an “Aw, shit!” moment the other day. We had received warnings of immanent, severe weather. It was the usual blurb from local meteorologists:
“Nothing to worry about (if you’re Superman).”
“Secure children and small pets to sturdy fixtures driven at least six feet into the ground.”
“If you are driving on a major highway, abandon your car now!”
“Good news. The storm has been downgraded by the National Weather Center from cataclysmic to merely life-threatening.”
I took the usual precautions by checking for loose objects, taking light weight items inside and resupplying my liquor cabinet. I went out on the back porch to watch the storm, which did turn out to be rather severe. As I sat there placidly and amusingly watching the rains beat sideways and the winds pick up, I noticed an object floating in the lake near my house. Someone, I thought, has had the misfortune to have their shed blown into the lake and slowly sinking.
At the moment, I realized that it was MY shed blown into the lake and slowly sinking.
How many times in our lives have we had that unfortunate moment when we realize that no amount of prayer, wishful thinking, incantations to the gods or promises of remorse is going to reverse the irreversible.
All of this, by way of my swamp of consciousness, brings to mind a winner of the Bulwer-Lytton contest. As you may recall, entrants to the Bulwer-Lytton fiction contest are invited “to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels” – that is, deliberately bad. This one came immediately to mind:
“The bone-chilling scream split the warm summer night in two, the first half being before the scream when it was fairly balmy and calm and pleasant for those who hadn’t heard the scream at all, but not calm or balmy or even very nice for those who did hear the scream, discounting the little period of time during the actual scream itself when your ears might have been hearing it but your brain wasn’t reacting yet to let you know.”
In other words, “Aw, shit!”