A collection of short stories and journalistic commentaries depicting my simple life
and how I fit in with the modern day universe of our times



I was born under a lucky star...

It's the same with all of us rich folk. No matter how we try, we can never do anything wrong. It just seems that everything just goes right for us, all of the time.

Take the other weekend...

We (me, wife and offspring) decided to go for a nice trip to the coast. The sun was shining, the birds were singing. It was a perfect day.

And so we set off for the east coast, on relatively traffic free roads in the air conditioned comfort of my Mercedes S Class (I'm going through a bloated plutocrat phase at the moment) for Yorkshire’s east coast. Sun still shining, birds still singing...

Until we arrived on the seafront, stopped the car, and the first penny-sized raindrops splashed ominously on the windscreen. Damn!

Now the thing about us bloated plutocrat rich folk is that we know that we've been born under a lucky star, so we don't bother to pack anything like coats or umbrellas. We won't need them because the sun always shines on us.

Nothing ever goes wrong...

So we strolled along the seafront getting wet and then wetter and then soaked to the skin. "We're not happy bunnies are we daddy?" noted my five-year-old daughter. I had to agree that we weren't indeed ‘happy bunnies’ and we decided to retreat to the sanctuary of the car.

Time for lunch...

If the weather's bad, you can usually always retire to a nice pub or restaurant and while away a couple of hours in pleasant, dry surroundings can't you? Particularly when you're a bloated rich plutocrat like me, and can afford to eat - well, anywhere...

Not when you're on the east coast of Yorkshire you can't!

Because the only people catered for in this gastronomic wasteland are refugees from the monstrous caravan parks which litter (I didn't use that word by accident - don't set me off on caravans) the coast - people for whom quantity takes precedence over quality every time. (Aside: If you ask someone's opinion of a restaurant and they say "You get loads!"- don't go, and never ask that person’s opinion again.)

Now look - I'm not a food snob...

I can eat Pizza Hut, Burger King and Macdonalds with the best of them, but the cuisine available on the east Yorkshire coast isn't even approaching that. It's almost like they've deliberately gone out of their way to create the greasiest, most unappetising and inedible pile of slop possible...

And then served it up on a cracked plate with dirty cutlery, and in surroundings which have remained steadfastly unchanged (except for wear and tear) since the mid 1960’s.

We carried on driving, arrived at the next town, and settled into the establishment which looked least likely to result in a bout of food poisoning... and endured what is probably the worst meal I've had since... well, last time I visited the east coast really. Ever had bad fish and chips at the seaside? You've not lived. I can tell you where to go.

Oh well, by now it had stopped raining, and so we abandoned what was laughingly called a restaurant for the delights of Filey.

I don't know whether you've ever been to the Jorvik centre in York. There's an underground re-creation of the city from around 900 AD through to the middle ages. Scattered around the attraction are lifelike models of people of the day...dirty, hunched, under-nourished, ferret faced creatures, stinking and stunted, wearing rags, with grime-engorged finger nails and unkempt straggly hair.

As we walked back to the car in Filey, it was like the last thousand years hadn't happened. If the people at the Jorvik ever want to really bring the attraction to life, I can direct them to the right place... and they can have some cold and rancid fish and chips while they're there.

Look, I don't want to upset the good people of Filey... those throwback people I was talking about.... they were probably just day trippers from Middlesborough or Barnsley - some place like that.

And then it started to rain again - Hard!

We quickly took refuge in a shop - the sort of place you could buy the entire stock with the coins stuffed down the back of your sofa - to be confronted by the 'hilarious' offering that is the penis shaped lollipop. "What's this?" asks my five year old daughter. "It's supposed to be a willy" I reply. "Can I have one", she says. “All in good time”, answered her mother. "All in good time."

By this stage my wife has had enough. "This is the worst day ever", she says, "I wish we'd stayed at home." "It isn't over yet", I venture optimistically. "That's what I'm worried about!" She says.

She was right to be worried.

We drove back down the coast to a place called Sewerby, which is actually very nice. Spent an enjoyable hour or so in the zoo there, watching monkeys playing with their private parts, before my daughter spotted a miniature train running down the coastal path.

"Can we go on that?" she says. I couldn't think of a good reason not to (other than not wanting to) so we went to board the train.

And that's when it really went wrong...

Because as I stepped on to the train I forgot to duck under the door, and walked smack full-face into the metal door frame. There was a sickening crunch as my nose sort of relocated in various new places on my face. I staggered back, covered in blood. "Does this mean we won't be going on the train?" says disappointed daughter.

"I don't know what hurts most," I say "my head or my nose". "Neither" says my wife. "It's your pride!" And of course, she was right.

Anyway, that was quite enough for one day. After a visit to the first aid centre, and being patched up by an attendant who could barely contain his mirth over a grown man sustaining such a spectacular injury attempting to board a children's miniature steam train, I decide to throw all of my toys back into my pram and take my ball home...

The perfect end to a perfect day!

You see, the opening line to this piece was a blatant lie. I wasn't born under a lucky star. And neither were you... and neither is anyone else for that matter. Shit happens to me, it happens to you, and it happens to Bill Gates too I’ll venture.

Before I made a pile of money big enough to set fire to and keep a poor person warm for six months, I used to think that wealthy people led some kind of utopian existence. They made their fortune by having fortune shine down upon them, and then used it to ward off all the tedious and nasty things that happen to ordinary folk. Well now I know it's not like that...

Success doesn't depend on not having crap things happen to you. It depends on dealing with crap when it happens...

Let me put that a bit more politely. To be successful you have to deal effectively with the same adversity which impacts everyone. Once you become successful, you'll still have to deal with adversity. If you think success will make you immune to adversity - you're wrong. It won't.

We all get pretty much the same amount of luck in our lives. Oh sure, you go through times where nothing seems to go right. Everybody does. But over the long haul... everyone gets broadly the same amount of luck. It's what you do with it that matters.

But here's an interesting thing...

When something does go wrong... when it seems like Lady Luck is just having a laugh... that event will almost certainly contain within it, the seeds of something positive. You just need to look for it.

If you take just one thing from this little story - make it a commitment to seek out the positive seeds in each piece of adversity you encounter. They're out there. I can promise you that.

Every single time I've had a setback, when something hasn't worked as well as it should, or a deal or project has fallen through, it's caused me to seek out a solution or replacement project which has led to even better things. What I'm trying to get over to you is this... success of any type has nothing to do with luck. Over the long haul, and aside from some very extreme cases for which you do NOT qualify, there's no such thing as bad luck.

There is just stuff that happens to you... the same stuff that happens to everyone else at some point...

It's what you do after that which matters.

Some people learn, to look for the positive angle and move on. Others just give up. Those who give up are the ones who believe they're 'just unlucky' and it's their fate to fail. Why 'beat yourself up' if the stars/gods/fates are against you, they think.

Those who move forward are the people who know that luck has absolutely nothing to do with it - that their success or failure is completely, utterly and exclusively, down to them.

How can you give in when there's nobody or nothing else to blame?

After all, I'm not really a bloated rich plutocrat, (despite the ridiculous car I chose to use when writing this piece), I’m just a bog standard ordinary millionaire (I wish - but am still working on it) going about my daily routine .




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Its my own fault really, its all about what I see in the world, and how it all translates for me.

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