Author’s Note: As this story suggests, it’s easy to complain about life, but harder to appreciate just how fortunate we really are.
Jimmy was ten years old. He was a good boy, but one morning he got out of bed in a really grumpy mood.
“I’m the unluckiest kid alive. Nothing good ever happens to me.” Jimmy was feeling very sorry for himself. Sighing, he ticked off all his complaints. “I’m always bored. Nobody ever says anything nice to me. I never get a break.”
When Jimmy’s mom heard this, she said, “You are a very lucky boy. You have a great family, good friends, and a lot to be thankful for.”
“No, I don’t,” whined Jimmy. “I always have bad luck, and my life is really boring.”
Jimmy’s mom waited a moment. In a quiet and patient voice, she said, “Please try to be more positive today. I bet that when you come home tonight from school, you’ll find you had one of the best days of your life.”
“I bet I don’t!” Jimmy didn’t stay around to argue. He was already late for school. He grabbed his book bag and dashed out the door.
Luckily for Jimmy, his school was a short walk away. Because he was feeling so sorry for himself, he wasn’t paying attention to where he was walking. In fact, when he came to an intersection, he stepped right out into the street without looking. He didn’t even notice a car whiz by in front of him, barely six feet away. A few moments later, a second car sped behind him going in the other direction.
A jogger nearby looked on in horror. “Does that little boy know how lucky he is?” Jimmy never even noticed the cars. His head was lost in the clouds. “Hey kid,” shouted the jogger, “be more careful next time.” The jogger’s call woke Jimmy up from his thoughts. “Great. Now I’m getting yelled at by people I don’t even know.”
Jimmy continued down the sidewalk. He didn’t notice a flock of pigeons circling over his head. The pigeons had just had a big breakfast of bird seed from a nearby feeder, and were feeling rather full. One big, fat pigeon decided to relieve his tummy right over Jimmy.
Jimmy never saw it coming. Worse, he was wearing the brand-new, bright red sweater his grandmother had given him. If you had a pigeon’s eye view of the situation, you would’ve seen a great, big blob of pigeon poop spiraling downwards toward Jimmy and his new sweater.
Then, a miracle happened. Just as the pigeon poop was about to land on Jimmy, another pigeon flew underneath. Instead of landing on Jimmy’s sweater, the pigeon poop landed on the back of the second pigeon. Jimmy never knew what had almost hit him. Instead, he swatted his hand overhead. “I can’t believe this. A pigeon just dive-bombed me.”
Jimmy finally arrived at his school. He walked through the playground on his way to the front door. A few kids were playing roller skate hockey. One kid, whom everyone called Slug, took a slap shot with his hockey stick. The puck sailed at Jimmy’s head. In the split second before the puck reached Jimmy, another friend, Pee Wee, called to him from the other side of the playground. “Hey, Jimmy, come over and play with us.” Jimmy turned just as the puck flew past – within an inch of his head. Jimmy swatted the air with his hand and muttered under his breath, “Mosquitoes are so annoying.” Jimmy never knew how close he had come to being beaned by a hockey puck.
At school, things didn’t seem to go any better for Jimmy. In history class, Jimmy forgot to bring his homework. All the other kids remembered to turn in theirs, and Jimmy knew that he’d be the only one to get a failing grade. Luckily for Jimmy, his teacher accidentally lost everyone’s homework that evening. She never even knew that Jimmy hadn’t turned in his homework that day.
Lunch was also disappointing for Jimmy. Besides forgetting his homework, he also forgot his lunch money. The only way he managed to keep from starving was to bum a sandwich off his best friend, Tommy Turner. Jimmy sighed. “I can’t believe what a bad day I’m having. Everybody else gets to eat today’s spaghetti special. I have to eat a yucky bean sprout sandwich that Tommy’s mom always makes him.”
Actually, Jimmy and Tommy were the two luckiest boys in their class. The meatballs in the spaghetti special had been in the kitchen freezer a little too long. Every kid who ate spaghetti and meatballs got a tummy ache. The only two kids in class who were spared were Jimmy and Tommy.
That evening, Jimmy’s mom greeted him with a smile when he arrived home. “So, how was your day?” Jimmy was in a cross mood. “Terrible. A stranger yelled at me on my way to school. A pigeon dive-bombed me. Mosquitoes tried to eat me alive. I probably got an F in history class because I forgot my homework. I didn’t have lunch money. Worst of all, I had to eat the yuckiest bean sprout sandwich ever made!”
“Oh my,” said his mom.
“I was right after all,” said Jimmy. “I am the unluckiest kid alive!”