Luck, the lack thereof, and lost causes

When my beloved Snaotheus, whose observational and logician skills we all know are unsurpassed :pauses to cough:, said to me, “Mom, you really have a lotta bad luck. You know that?”, I knew I was in trouble. Well, I knew I was in trouble long before that, but one never likes to have objective confirmation of such suspicions.

I wish I knew why the universe has it in for me. I mean, I have work, and food, and a roof, clothing, heat, friends and family, reasonably decent health, and my dog, and I’m always grateful for those. But in other things (which I have to admit qualify as infinitesimal on the cosmic stage, but loom fairly large in quotidian life), my luck is, frankly, dismal.

The Tale of the Exercise Bike below counts as one of them. I probably got the only unit in 500,000 whose console died after 92 days. And this after I passed over a unit whose carton was beat up and crumpled, thinking it might have suffered travel wounds. So I actually chose the faulty one rather than just taking the first one on the shelf. What ill-humored demigod rules over those things, to force me to choose the one that will break?

The other day, I bought a manual can opener to replace my doddering old one that I’d had for probably 40+ years. I have a thing against pointless electrical appliances (for one thing, I don’t have room for them), so I’m not even interested in those. Right off the mark, I’m being responsible and environmentally sensitive, right? You’d think that’d count for something.

So I picked up the $16 version at the grocery store, with the cushiony black handles that are softer on my starting-to-age finger joints (these guys are important, since I earn a living with them). I wish I’d taken a photo of what it did to the can of green beans I tried to open. It looked like the proverbial train wreck you can’t look away from.

But the tool did not open the can.

I took the opener back, with the can, to show the grocery store. The woman commiserated and we got the next one down in the cost tier, which still had handles with plastic covers, but not the cushiony ones. I didn’t much like the angle its cutting wheel was at (it was too much like the cushiony-handled one), so I tried it. It wouldn’t even grip the can.

“Here,” I said to her. “You try it. If it doesn’t work for you, then it’s not just me.” (Is it any wonder I lose confidence in myself?!?)

Guess what? It didn’t work for her, either!

Eventually, I wound up with the $2.49 kind that doesn’t even have handles. It takes a freakin’ engineer to figure out how to get it on the can, and you have to hold it in place with your left hand so it doesn’t jump around, but it did open the can. Three of them, to be precise.

What is it? Grandpa L. claimed to have horrific luck, but I don’t remember these kinds of things ever happening to him, so it may not be genetic. What have I done to make my assigned demigod hate me? What? What?! Am I just unfortunate? Am I a lost cause? Should I just leap off the nearest cliff and put the world out of my misery?

Posted by wordsmith


Good idea, but these were all built to cut into the top of the can. :shrugs: My mom had one of those into-the-side things and they were awful, I agree.

I hate to mention this after the fact, but did you position the wheel of the can-opener so it bit into the top of the can, or the side?

Modern can-openers all seem to bite into the side. I find this unsatisfactory because it means it’s easy to dribble liquid while you’re opening, and various parents and such have picked it up and tried to open cans by positioning the wheel so it bites into the top. Doesn’t work.

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