Mike Buzzelli

Column Mike Buzzelli

Mike Buzzelli is a stand up comedian and published author. He is a theater and arts critic for 'Burgh Vivant, Pittsburgh's online cultural talk magazine, and an active board member of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival, the Carnegie Arts Initiative and the Carnegie Screenwriters. His book, "Below Average Genius" is a collection of essays culled from his weekly humor column here in the Observer-Reporter.

The win column column

April 11, 2014

I had stepped out of the car, and my paper-bag lunch exploded, spilling the contents all over the gravel. Apparently, the contents, a bagel, a yogurt and an apple, were more than it could handle. I retrieved my lunch, and a co-worker said, “It’s gonna be one of those days!”

It was 7:45 a.m. I refused to give up on the day so early. I was already wearing the wrong pants.

I guess that needs explaining. I have been dieting (hence the combination of items in the aforementioned lunch bag), and I was starting to see results. I decided, however, to wear a pair of dress slacks from the back of the closet. They fit when I put them on. I didn’t even have to lie down on the bed to zip them up. I was still partially asleep when I got dressed, because the pants were tight by the time I got to work.

I picked up my bagel (it was in a Ziploc bag), my yogurt and my apple (slightly bruised, but edible) and carried them in my hands. I wanted to stop at Starbucks and get a hot tea, but I was carrying an array of items that they sell over there. It seemed weird. I didn’t want to have to explain I brought the bagel, apple and yogurt from home (even though the yogurt was a different brand).

Was it going to be “one of those days,” as my co-worker had quickly proclaimed. The whole Fate/Free Will thing came into question. Was I predetermined to have a bad day? It sounded ridiculous out loud. Isn’t every day filled with both positive and negative events? I had to hold out hope that the day was going to be great. There are people who look at the glass of water as half full and others who look at it as half empty. Does anyone look at it and say, “This is just the right amount of water I need!”

When I got into the building, I learned there were mini-muffins in the break room. I had a lemon-poppy seed muffin: Good. The muffin, even though it was a mini, was still over 400 calories: Bad. I was working on a deadline and I needed someone to answer a question, and he wasn’t getting back to me: Bad. I got someone else on the phone who could answer my question: Good.

I started looking for both positive and negative things. I heard a colorful aphorism: Some days you’re the bird, some days you’re the statue. I still refused to believe that.

In 1944, Gerald R. Massie, a U.S. Army Air Force photographer, is believed to have originated a famous quote after crash-landing his B-17: “Any landing you can walk away from is a good one.”

I believe that any day I return home safe and sound is a good day. Once I was home, out of my tight pants, I was sticking my day in the win column.



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