It is now time to talk about the bad day.

The best worst day of my life (so far, I think) happened in college. I remember it pretty clearly. In fact, most of the stories I remember pretty clearly happened in college. I don't remember a lot before that very clearly, for various reasons, but that's a story for another time, or perhaps not.

It was the second half of my junior year and I was rooming with both Dave and Steve (brothers) and one other guy that I won't get into just yet. He wasn't around much anyway. Dave was my year, Steve was 2 years behind us. Dave dated all kinds of cute girls, I wasn't dating anyone at the moment (though that would soon change for the worse), and Steve was dating this girl who I think was a sophomore at the time. Her name was Carrie.

Carrie was awesome, which was only enhanced by the fact that her family lived on a boat, which I think is cool and would totally consider doing myself someday. Why invest in real estate when you can make the world your oyster? So yeah, Carrie had that I-grew-up-around-the-ocean coolness that I think is hard for people to recognize for what it is unless they know it for themselves. Plus, she was just a really nice person (Steve later married her, smart boy that he was).

I only ever flunked one test in college, it was my second Accounting 201 test. I studied just like normal but my brain must have been turned off that day. I remember taking it, like any other test, and thinking I probably did fine, like any other test. I remember getting it back, too. The teacher looked at me kind of odd. I looked at it and the first thing I did was check the name because I didn't believe it was mine. I had literally flunked the test (I got A's on every other test in that class, and the rat fink of a man STILL wouldn't give me a re-take on that section).

So that set me up to just have a really nasty day. I was dead set on it. There I was, angrily riding my BMX bike way too fast to my job (background investigations for high security positions, pretty sweet job for a college kid, but landing that is another story for another time), and next thing I know I'm in mid air, the bike somewhere back behind and below me. My return to Terra firma netted me exactly one torn-up left hand, one ruined pear of jeans, and one knee bleeding through a fresh hole in said pair of jeans.

So I show up at work all angry and bloody and fuming. I wash myself off, tape up with what's left in the shabby first aid kit, and spend the afternoon scowling at my workstation. I didn't touch a case file that day, which was probably for the best as I'm fairly certain I would have made some stranger's life that much worse, in my foul mood.

Later that evening I'm back in Map cafeteria having dinner. I always ate in Map, I hated Hicks because it was out of the way, and all the Greeks ate there. Plus Map always had more girls, which made the food taste better, somehow. Anyway, I'm in Map and I'm pissed off at the world and sitting there by myself entertaining thoughts about setting things on fire. I had noted on my way in that they had Rice Krispies treats on the dessert table and had a distinct pause to appreciate the fact that at least something had gone right in my day of days.

So I finish my less-than-mediocre dinner, and I sulk over to the dessert table.

Somewhere, fate chuckled.

They're gone - cleaned out. The lunch lady is packing up the remains of cookies and whatnot.

"Where...are...the...Rice Krispies treats...?"

"All gone!"


"Nope! None!" she was happy to tell me.

I storm back to my tray and sit down and stare blankly across the cafeteria waiting for lightning to strike me right through the roof. Then Carrie walks up and just sits across from me with her tray and doesn't say anything (I think maybe she wisely perceived a problem). She just smiles at me in that "What's up?" kinda way, so I launch right into my tirade about the Worst Day Ever. I give her all the terrible details, complete with a show-and-tell of my bloody stump of a hand, and then wrap it up with the topper - no Rice Krispies treats. TOP. THAT.

Carrie sits there the whole time without saying a word, and then she just gets up and leaves. She left her tray there so I figured she must have forgot something. I wasn't really expecting her to say anything in return, I was just happy to have someone to unload on. I sat there feeling only slightly better. It dawned on me at that point that I didn't want to go anywhere or talk to anyone for the rest of the day for fear of things getting worse.

And then, the next thing I know, Carrie comes back holding a bowl, and she's stirring something in it.

She sits down, nonchalantly slides said bowl across the table, and I look at it.

Its freshly microwaved Rice Krispies, butter, and marshmallows, shining up into my face from that bowl in all its warm, gooey glory, and it was the best thing I had ever tasted. (I previously had no idea you could do that. In retrospect it seems pretty simple but on that day it was nothing short of a mystery of the universe, unravelled before my greedy eyes.)

We ate the rest of the meal in silence.

And that was pretty much my best worst day.


Joey said...

I haven't even gotten an A on any of his tests. :(

Mom said...

A good reminder that we never know what people are experiencing and what is happening in their lives. The story was an encouragement to me to try to take my time with people more carefully. To take the time to truly listen and to see if there is any way I can serve and show a bit of the love of Christ. It is never by accident that we are with who we are with. God is orchestrating it all so perfectly and this story was a good example to try to make a difference by simply caring when I am with whoever. Thanks