Posted by: ramblingki | March 20, 2012

It Could Have Been Worse

In my family, we have what we call “McKinney Luck.”  It’s when something bad happens, but we’re supposed to be grateful it wasn’t any worse.  It is our variation on the “glass half full/half empty, optimist/pessimist, and every cloud has a silver lining” themes, with just a dash of “God works in mysterious ways” thrown in for good measure.

Here’s how McKinney Luck works:  A man, the sole breadwinner for his wife and 13 children, has his arm ripped off in a terrible farm accident involving a thrasher.  The lucky part?  He’s left with enough of a stump that he can be fitted for a prosthetic arm.  Yeah, life is sweet.

That’s an imaginary scenario, of course.  Here are a few actual examples of McKinney Luck:

When my sister was diagnosed with the fastest-moving, non-curable form of lung cancer, she discovered that she lived only a little more than one mile from the nearest oncology clinic.  Was she lucky, or what?

When my brother’s son learned that he had melanoma, it had spread so aggressively throughout his body that the doctors were able to tell him, without equivocation, that he didn’t have long to live.   There was no false hope of survival and no grueling rounds of chemo.  He didn’t have to wait long for the end.  Now, that’s some real luck.

When I was learned I was being “relieved” of my job of 35 years, at the age of 62, on the day before the Christmas holidays, I learned that I would be able to take advantage of the government’s new subsidy program for COBRA.  I paid much less for my monthly premium than I would have had my employers waited to fire me until after the holidays.

The really interesting part about McKinney Luck, you may realize by now, is that it really IS luck.  Granted, something really sad, bewildering, maddening, or costly has to happen before a McKinney can take advantage of silver linings, full glasses and mysterious actions of the gods.  It may take months, or even years, for us to realize we’ve been lucky.  But, eventually, we figure it out!



  1. Sometimes it is hard to see how lucky we really are.

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