Ford and Arthur are rescued from certain death in the vacuum of outer space by a random event of chance . . .
Five wild Event Maelstroms swirled in vicious storms of unreason and spewed up a pavement.
On the pavement lay Ford Prefect and Arthur Dent gulping like half-spent fish.
"There you are," gasped Ford, scrabbling for a finger hold on the pavement as it raced through the Third Reach of the Unknown, "I told you I'd think of something."
"Oh sure," said Arthur, "sure."
"Bright idea of mine," said Ford, "to find a passing spaceship and get rescued by it."
The real Universe arched sickeningly away beneath them. Various pretend ones flitted silently by, like mountain goats. Primal light exploded, splattering space-time as with gobbets of Jell-O. Time blossomed, matter shrank away. The highest prime number coalesced quietly in a corner and hid itself away forever.
"Oh, come off it," said Arthur, "the chances against it were astronomical."
"Don't knock it, it worked," said Ford.
"What sort of ship are we in?" asked Arthur as the pit of eternity yawned beneath them.
"I don't know," said Ford, "I haven't opened my eyes yet."
"No, nor have I," said Arthur.
The Universe jumped, froze, quivered and splayed out in several unexpected directions.
"Good God," said Arthur, "it looks just like the sea front at Southend."
"Hell, I'm relieved to hear you say that," said Ford.
"Because I thought I must be going mad."
"Perhaps you are. Perhaps you only thought I said it."
Ford thought about this.
"Well, did you say it or didn't you?" he asked.
"I think so," said Arthur.
"Well, perhaps we're both going mad."
"Yes," said Arthur, "we'd be mad, all things considered, to think this was Southend."
"Well, do you think this is Southend?"
"So do I."
"Therefore we must be mad."
"Nice day for it."
"Yes," said a passing maniac.
"Who was that?" asked Arthur.
"Who--the man with the five heads and the elderberry bush full of kippers?"
"I don't know. Just someone."
Late this afternoon, right before I had to teach, I found out that I did not get the job that I interviewed for last Friday. It was the job that I really wanted. My salary would have increased by about four dollars an hour, and I would have been working with residents and university students in the medical field. And I would have been employed by Michigan State University. And it would have had full benefits. And . . . okay, I'm just getting myself more depressed.
That is why I am sitting in the kitchen with the lights out, drinking and blogging. If you haven't figured it out yet, this is probably not going to be a very uplifting post. Since I received the news, I've been thinking about my work life a lot. Since the first job I ever had (busing tables at a local Friday fish fry), I've never made more than a little over twelve dollars an hour. (That may seem like a lot, but I have to support a family of four and pay for health insurance on that wage.) I have two advanced degrees and have taught at a university for close to 25 years, and I'm still considered a part-time instructor. Every week, my wife and I play a game of Russian roulette with the bills--which one is the most past due?
So, you see, that is why I'm drinking. I've already finished off the schnapps, and the Bailey's Irish Cream is next. If that doesn't last the night, I may be heading out to the store. I see this little pity party lasting until bedtime. Or until I feel less angry and depressed. Or until Bigfoot walks through my front door.
Generally, I'm not a big believer in using alcohol as a coping mechanism. This evening, however, I don't feel like doing a whole lot else. Not going for a walk. Or reading. I already wrote in my journal this afternoon. (A new poem, believe it or not. That was before I got the news.) Therefore, it's the bottle for me.
For those of you who may be concerned, don't be. I will be better tomorrow. Just need a night to be pissed off and a little despondent. I will try to work through Maslow's five stages of grief in the next few hours and be back to my normal, upbeat self by morning. I think I've just reached bargaining. That leaves depression and acceptance. No problem.
You all must be thinking that I'm a pretty ungrateful saint. I have two jobs, for the moment. A house. Two healthy kids. A beautiful wife. I'm Poet Laureate of the Upper Peninsula for the second time. It was almost 50 degrees today. The sun felt great on my face. There are blessings all around me. I know.
Right now, however, I crave a little darkness. A little escape from my worries. A little twelve-hour nap. I want to lock my front door, shut the world out, and not emerge until Donald Trump is just a racist businessman sitting in prison or the next Star Wars movie is released.
Saint Marty's glass isn't half empty. It's all empty.
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