One Lucky Guy

It was either this, or the football player.
I have considered myself a very lucky guy for a long time. Whether it was good or bad, it always seemed to work out.  I do think I’ve worked hard for my luck, but either way, I am pretty lucky.

I distinctly remember the first time I felt like I was lucky (get your mind out of the gutter). I was sitting in Mr. Bowman’s science class in 7th grade. I have always considered myself a smart kid, even when I lie about my past. I sat towards the back of the room, and we were going over the periodic table of elements. The textbook we were using (remember those?) had the table spread over two pages right in the middle pages of the book; so the  binding was visible, and a slight space appeared vertically down the center of the elements. 

Now, for all of you that haven’t looked at, or thought about, the periodic elements since that day in Jr. High, there are also a group of elements that were separated and moved below the table as man-made elements (I’m not looking this up by the way, my wife can vouch. Pure memory, and probably wrong). 

Added photo after text was written. I think I was right...
So Mr. Bowman was talking the Charlie Brown teacher talk (c’mon: wah wah wah, wah-wah wah wah); and I was probably just starting to pay attention when he asked the class if there was something odd about the periodic table. There was some silence. I looked, raised my hand and said, “This is easy. The table is split down the middle.” Of course, Mr. Bowman said I was right. I think you can see where this is going. I thought it was split oddly because I had never seen it split vertically before. He thought (or at least played it off as) that I knew the bottom elements were the man-made ones. I got lucky.

But my luck didn’t stop. Oh no, it kept getting better. I was lucky enough in high school to have people that wanted me to succeed. I was the sportscaster on a TV News team that won the All-State competition. I wasn’t considered rich growing up, but I got by with what we had. For the news broadcast, I didn’t have a sports coat, or even a white button down shirt. I did have a black shirt and tie though (used sparingly throughout high school). The judges at the competition said our newscast stood out because of our commercial, and it was hilarious. But he also made a point to say that the sportscaster took a chance and stood out by wearing a black shirt and no coat. Sometimes you remember the little stuff.

Just getting into college was luck for me. But I got there, and after semester one I needed to get my act into gear if I wanted to stay. Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know. And I had a good crew in college that were more focused on academics than not. And that support was beneficial. I ended up in a great place because of it.

I also remember in college when my luck wasn’t so much good. Long story short: I lost a “bar fight” with the glass from a fire extinguisher case. I had the pleasure of spending the night in the tank. But, it led to some good. When I went to my broadcasting class later that week (and the beginning of Triple Threat TV at ISU) a cute girl was eyeing me. I found out later that she was trying to figure out if I really was the kid from the paper she read about in the blotter. Good news for me, she liked me anyway, and now we are about to celebrate our 5th year of marriage together (June 2nd). And you know how we’re celebrating? We’re going to run a 20K in Des Moines. I have a feeling I’ll be lucky to finish.

Now with Faith almost 2-years-old, I decided it was time to get rid of the pacifier. We had talked about it anyway when I was out of school. But it was just as big of a crutch for Nicole and I as it was for Faith. So, last night, when we were on our way home I got stubborn, and pretty much told Nicole we were going to go sans-binky right then. Cold Turkey.

She said that I would be the one in charge for the night. And I got lucky. It initially took about 10 minutes to get her to calm down. We have a giraffe that makes music, and so I decided that would be her replacement. So when she was upset, I wound it up and made sure to give it to her, then rub her back. Then she was out. She woke up once at 5am, for just a moment. I repositioned the giraffe and she was out again. And that was it. She woke up at 6:30 (about normal) and was ready to rock and roll. Nicole gave her presents for making it as a “big-girl” and our day has commenced.
Duck, Duck, ALLIGATOR!
You know the expression, “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch,” right? This was night one. We still have two long car rides today - and probably nap time too. But, I’m lucky. We’ll see I guess.

By the way, I didn’t mention being on (and winning) Wheel of Fortune, falling into a wonderful career (I literally replied to a newspaper ad that said, “Tired of your current job? Did you always want to become a teacher?”), getting to jump out of a plane and tell about it, visiting Ireland, and a myriad of other moments in my life. 

The family with ISU women's basketball coach Bill Fennelly and his 2028 recruit. Oh, and yellow skinny jeans.

As I often say (to anyone who will listen), I am the luckiest guy I know.

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