I’ve often used the cliché “Join the club,” like when someone says, “I can’t catch a break,” or “I think I might be demon-possessed.” But you …
I’ve often used the cliché “Join the club,” like when someone says, “I can’t catch a break,” or “I think I might be demon-possessed.” But you better have some original, tear-jerking tales if you hope to literally join our exclusive, “Club Victim.” CV was founded by my great nephew Noah Blough and me last summer.
Noah, or “Rooster” as I’ve tagged him, became habitually victimized at an even younger age than I. We often bemoan our cursed, undeserved luck at family dinners and golf outings — a favorite venue of our invisible tormenters. I have a pic of 16-year-old Rooster staring with a tortured scowl at his ball, nestled in a chest-high pine branch after a decent drive.
I had to sneak up to get my second, prized photo. On our last hole, after his nice drive quickly turned into another maximum 10, I glanced over to see Rooster waiting with his forehead firmly on the cart steering wheel, his arms dangling straight down. A picture being worth a thousand words, this one clearly said, “What’s the use? I give up.”
Our club name originated when my nephew Rusty, Rooster’s dad, scolded, “You sound just like Uncle Doug with that victim mentality.” Now I’m fine with being a role model, but told him to get off his high horse, which became his new nickname.
It’s easy for High Horse to sermonize; he’s never pulled into a crowded parking lot and watched his left front tire go rolling away because a tire shop had months earlier failed to tighten the lug nuts. I was that driver, and my door jam is still crinkled from the ensuing crash to the pavement as my wheel bounced away.
High Horse hasn’t leaned over while ice-fishing and had his phone slide into the hole. It happened to Rooster a couple months ago at Jim Lake during an over-nighter with Rusty and his two friends. I got all the agonized details in a text from Rusty’s phone: “VICTIM update” followed by a full account of the fluke, coat pocket regurgitation. A little later Noah borrowed dad’s phone again for this update: “Oh no! My debit card, driver’s license, $20 and a gift card was in my phone case.”
In an added twist that drew sympathetic tears of laughter from my eyes, someone had a “fish finder,” which lent them all witness to the phone snaking its way to the bottom.
I wondered which example to choose from my countless, woeful tales, but getting home from bowling a while ago, I reasoned, “Why not use your freshest one?”
I met another nephew, Jay, at Cody’s Super Bowl for a $20 a game bowling challenge, but first I badly needed to use the men’s room for a single-digit number that doesn’t involve standing, if you catch my drift.
It was a smooth operation right up until I reached into the T.P. dispenser and found nothing but a couple dangling shreds on both rollers. I desperately craned my neck in all directions with not a spare roll in sight. “OK, so I’ll just wait till Jay gets tired of waiting and comes to investigate,” I projected.
Ten, 15 … 25 minutes passed and my solitude continued. Now I’m pounding violently on the dispenser, thinking someone surely will hear the racket, but it apparently blended into the sound of crashing pins. Thankfully I had carried along a crossword puzzle and pencil. My cellphone, still in my coat at our table, would have been a much wiser carry-on, but that puzzle got me through some tough, lonely times in there.
At about the half-hour mark, I finally heard the door and spied shoes near the urinal. I sheepishly cried out, and five minutes later, someone returned and bowled a fresh roll under the wall. Badly rattled as you’d expect, my first game was also a stinker!
Noah actually named us Club Victim, but I came up with the T-shirt logo — a hapless fellow sitting underneath a shade tree, looking up at a fat bird on a branch directly above with tail feathers raised. The caption reads, “Go ahead; everyone else does!”
Believe me: you really don’t want to be a member of our club. When you’ve stepped on as many rake heads as the Rooster and me, it often makes the decision of whether to get out of bed a complicated, conflicted one.
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