I’d like to call your attention to an illness that afflicts many people, yet is rarely discussed: Improbable Calamity Syndrome (ICS).
ICS is a mental illness, and it is evidently genetic because everyone in my family has it. It is a highly neurotic version of Murphy’s Law, which states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong.
People who suffer from ICS believe that even things that can’t go wrong will go wrong. When you have ICS, you don’t think the glass is half-empty or half full; you think it’s shattered on the floor and you’re about to step on the shards in your bare feet.
I’ve had ICS all my life. As a teenager, I never smoked pot because I was certain I’d be immediately arrested, even if I was in my house. I’m pretty sure that, as a baby, I got started late walking because I thought I might sprain my ankle.
Home ownership has turned me into an ICS poster boy. Suddenly I have a well that can go dry, a septic tank that could overflow, and all sorts of apparatuses in my basement whose functions I am only vaguely aware of, and that could possibly turn into incendiary devices at a moment’s notice.
Since we moved to Stamford last year, satellite chunks have hurtled toward my home (well, okay, they were hurtling toward Earth, but that happens to be is where my home is located), and solar flares have threatened to destroy civilization and, not incidentally, our house.
And recently, a number of news stories have given me even more to worry about.
Let’s begin on Long Island, where a home was struck by a car. This, in itself, is not so unusual; cars are always driving into things. But in this incident, the driver, a Brooklyn woman, was so drunk, and apparently going so fast, she actually drove through the house. And without even stopping to order a burger at the window.
Now, one thing I haven’t been worried about is someone driving into our house. That’s because it sits at the top of a steeply-angled, rockily-landscaped hill, so there’s no way to drive head-on into it. It’s also to the side of the driveway, so it would be difficult to keep up enough speed around the turn to do much damage. But, jeez, if people are going to drive fast enough to leave a house with entrance and exit wounds, they could speed up the driveway and launch themselves into space, Thelma and Louise style, soaring into one of the many major trees on our property and causing it to topple onto our home and crush it.
How can you not think about things like that?
Then we have the story of an Ohio woman named Susan Warren, who allegedly has been breaking into people’s homes in order to clean them. This is terrifying indeed, because cleaning people never put things back where you left them, and if I didn’t know one was coming and didn’t have a chance to hide everything so she wouldn’t move it, I’d never know where anything was, which I wouldn’t anyway, because I’d forget where I hid the things, if I even remembered that I’d hidden them in the first place.
And what about the embarrassment? Police say that Ms. Warren chooses homes at random, but you just know the neighbors think she picked that home because she thought it was most in need of her services. "Oh, yes," they would say to each other at the neighborhood barbecue, "they are such slobs, strangers commit felonies just to tidy up a bit." Needless to say, they’d be able to talk like this because they wouldn’t have invited the parties in question.
If Ms. Warren broke into our house to clean it, I’d be too mortified to press charges. I think I’d even pay her and claim she was a cleaning lady who is so good we bring her in all the way from Ohio.
We move on now to Houston, Texas, specifically to the shower stall of one Chyenna Richards, where Jesus has appeared in some mold.
First of all, Ms. Richards is delusional, because the image in the mold is clearly Alice Cooper. Secondly, I worry about something like this happening to us, because I’d be really upset if religious fanatics were lined up outside our house to be saved in our shower, unless it was the hallway shower, because no one ever uses that. I don’t know; maybe it would be a good thing. We could make extra money selling them stuff, like Virgin Mary soap and Three Wise Men Hand Towels.
Or maybe we could just get Susan Warren to come over and use a little elbow grease on the tiles.
Finally, there is the disturbing news from NASA that the Milky Way and the Andromeda Galaxy are on a collision course. Information like this is reason enough to remove NASA’s funding. According to the Hubble Telescope (Motto: "We could look into your window if we really wanted to, so put some clothes on."), the Andromeda Galaxy will be moving at 1.2 million miles per hour when it hits our Milky Way head on. I would think that is fast enough to go in the front of the Milky Way and go out the back, leaving a hole in the solar system similar to the one in that house on Long Island.
Now, NASA says this collision won’t happen for four billion years, but what if they’re off by 3,999,999,999 years?
And what if the Andromeda Galaxy is being driven by a drunk woman from Brooklyn?
How can you not worry about stuff like this?
For more on our adventures as first-time homeowners at age 57, and moving to Stamford, visit http://theupsizers.wordpress.com/