Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lucky or UN-lucky?

So much of life is about perspective; about attitude.

My wife’s favorite comment to me is “Everything always works out for you, doesn’t it?” She thinks I’m a Golden Boy who, no matter what happens, always comes out smelling like roses.

What she is starting to see is that it is my perspective that makes it seem this way. Here are two very recent and very severe examples.

Less than a month ago I was driving at about 70 miles an hour on a freeway in Houston and was rear-ended by a driver who was traveling at a speed police estimated to be at least 100 MPH. The damage was so severe that all the estimates to have it fixed came in at MORE than the vehicle is worth. In other words, my truck was totaled.

But all the damage was in the back where the bed of the truck is. I wasn’t hurt and none of my props were damaged. The truck still runs like a dream, it just has dented panels, a damaged tailgate that won’t open without prying it with a screwdriver, and a bent frame which doesn’t really affect anything other than re-sell value. Because he hit me from the rear the air bags didn’t deploy (that’s GOOD, they cost a LOT to replace!). But it turns out that the driver (Nicholas Drew Estes, TX DL#01514293) has no insurance.

Now this last little fact might not be as bad as it first seems. I carry insurance, but I do NOT carry full coverage since my vehicle has a very low replacement value. In fact, with over 210,000 miles on it, my truck is worth only about $3,000 according to Kelly Blue Book. But it runs GREAT since I take very good care of it. I plan on getting another 50,000 miles out of her at least before I sell her and buy a new one.

But if Estes would have had insurance his company would have totaled the truck, written me a check for $3,000, then taken the truck to sell at auction and then I would have had to go out and buy a NEW truck. Now, regardless of how affordable I can get the payments, I don’t WANT a new truck right now. I want to get another 50K out of this one and THEN buy a new one. So I was actually feeling pretty lucky that I was going to get to keep my truck, even if I was upset that it had been pretty badly damaged.

SEVERE EXAMPLE #2: The night before last, while staying in a hotel in San Antonio, Texas, my truck was broken into. They smashed the driver’s side window and searched the cab for valuables, then smashed the back window of my camper to search among my props in the bed for valuables.

I suppose they were looking for high value items that pack small. Things like cameras, lap tops, cell phones, or GPS units. But I always take these things inside with me.

So they took NOTHING from the cab. They didn’t even try to steal the radio or even take the money in the center console, which I would have thought would be a no-brainer. They took NOTHING.

(As a curious side note, I had two books in the car on entreprenuership and two audio CD programs by Jim Rohn, all of which would have benefited these hoodlums if they would have stolen them and listened to them or read them, but I guess thieves are not into self-improvement)

When they busted out the back window they couldn’t get the tail gate down because of the damage from the wreck last month. So they looked around a little bit and thought it was all a bunch of puppets and worthless books (Eeewww! Books.)

Because the tail gate didn’t open they were unable to pull out the stuff I store at the back of the truck and access the $600 wireless microphone system, the $300 wireless mic that goes with it, the $1,100 sound system, the $200 speaker stands, or the $200 worth of tools I use in the show I do about Simple Machines. All this stuff was back there, but it was so cluttered with other props that couldn't be moved without opening the tail gate that they didn't even know they were there.

So, again, they took NOTHING. They could have taken some props and left me out cold since those props are very valuable to me (even if you couldn’t get $2 for them at the pawn shop). The props are how I make my living.

So, was I unlucky to get my car windows smashed? Or was I lucky because the thieves took NOTHING.

Was I unlucky because I got rear ended and had my truck totaled by a guy with no insurance? Or was I lucky that I got to keep my truck for another year? Lucky that the damage caused rendered the thieves unable to gain access to my more valuable items? Lucky that I was driving a junky truck that got broken into rather than a brand new one?

I guess it is all about perspective.

But just in case it really IS good luck, I bought five lottery tickets.