Somehow It Didn’t Work Out This Way.

A typical day of my adult life, as imagined by me as a kid, watching television, circa 1979:

I stumble out of bed and wander aimlessly with my eyes closed. Because I’m not fully conscious I step out of the window and wander onto a construction site where a series of well-timed girders lifted by cranes carry me up at least a dozen floors of an unfinished skyscraper. I make my way along more girders, blissfully unaware that I’m over a hundred feet off the ground and step into a large steel pipe just as it passes by. The pipe is lowered to the ground just in time for me to step out of it. I walk back into my apartment into the bathroom where I manage to shower, shave, and get fully dressed, somehow without ever taking off my full-length pajamas.

My roommates and I who, in spite of all having full-time jobs, are always in the apartment together, discover we don’t have the month’s rent which is due today. Or we had it and misplaced it under the couch cushions, or accidentally handed it over to the neighbor with his morning newspaper and now he’s on a trip to Paris and we have no way to get into his apartment to get the envelope with the rent in it.

I set off to take a part-time job, in spite of having a full-time job, that’s guaranteed to pay me just enough money for the rent. Rent, in fact, is our only expense; food and a constantly shifting wardrobe just somehow take care of themselves.

Getting to the job involves a car chase. I’m not sure exactly why it involves a car chase but I’ll be driving a Cadillac Fleetwood nine-passenger sedan–green, of course–at high speed around corners and over hills, flying into the air, possibly while chased by police, or just by another person who will be conveniently stopped by a passing train.

Inevitably two guys will be carrying a large pane of glass across the street just in time for me to drive through and break it into a million pieces. I feel bad about this, but, making it even worse, they’ll be carrying a replacement pane of glass just in time for the other person or the cops to drive through.

The job will take me to the jungle which is not only in another country but another continent but it only takes me a few minutes to get there. While traveling through the jungle I will, of course, encounter quicksand which, in spite of looking like nothing more than extremely watery oatmeal, has the astounding power to pull me under. Slowly.

Using a convenient branch or rope I’ll pull myself free from the quicksand, and within a minute I’ll be completely clean and dry. This is fortunate because next I’ll have to worry about the erupting volcano. I’ll be able to outrun the lava and make an escape over a rickety rope and wood bridge.

Once safely over the bridge I’ll pause to watch the bridge collapse and everything on the other side be swallowed up by the destruction.

At some point in this process I will acquire the rent money and will get home just in time to hand it over to the landlord who will laugh and remind me that we gave him the rent money yesterday, and the whole thing was one big misunderstanding.

Miraculously all this will take place in less than thirty minutes.

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  1. Lesson plans

    Dear, thank you for updating us about”Somehow It Didn’t Work Out This Way”.
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  2. BarbaraM

    You apparently watch waaaay too much television. Especially old time programs!

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      When I was a kid they…well, a lot of them were old time programs even then. But you might have noticed the nod to Three’s Company and similar sitcoms which, at the time, were still new.


    Thanks for all the work you did here, Chris, and I loved the way it all worked out. To celebrate my 70th birthday, I’ve been watching a lot of old Man from U.N.C.L.E. episodes and based on that show, my youthful expectations of adult life included running into helpful and adventurous strangers in unexpected places and I’d say that worked out well, too.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Whenever I think about The Man From U.N.C.L.E. I’m sorry that Robert Vaughn, who was also a teenage caveman, passed away, but I’m glad you’re still with us and still celebrating birthdays, Ann.


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