“It could be worse.” It’s what people say when something truly icky happens in your life, and it’s supposed to 1) make you feel better because other people feel worse or 2) make you feel worse because it highlights what a big whiney baby you are. It’s kind of like a game, a game that you never, ever want to win.
When folks show up at the hospital, take one look at you, cross themselves (and they’re not Catholic) and say, “Holy smokes, it could NOT be worse,” then you have lost the game.
For us the “it could be worse” game often involves insect life—often termites.
We put our first house on the market and two weeks later termites flew out of the load-bearing-holding-up-the-ancient-aqueduct wall.
The next house we put on the market the termites waited a month to do their thing. As I remember it, the termites boiled out of our wood frame house in an Egyptian plague cloud while the realtor was parading potential buyers through it.
Okay, it’s not the worst thing that could happen, but it is spooky in a coincidental, paranoid curse of the insect wood eaters kind of way. So, we must conclude it could be worse. And here’s how:
1. The termites could have flown out of the attic of our house after eating their way through the foundation, stairs, television, and picture frames. Instead they flew out of the bottom. It could have been worse.
2. The termites could have been some new, freak industrial clone bugs, capable of eating an average size house in under eight hours, so that when we got home from work we would be greeted by a pile of sawdust and a microwave. (We lived pretty close to a nuclear power plant at the time. It could have happened.)
3. The termites could have been glowing and looking for human orifices to colonize.
4. The termites could have been armed with flame-throwers.
5. The termites could have been followed by a troop of termite eating monkeys, who would now be living in the bushes, hunting termites, throwing poo, and looking for humans to jeer. Monkeys, I am informed, are disgusting.
6. The termites could have been flesh eating.
See how fun and helpful this little exercise can be? Before you know it you’re counting your blessings, calling the exterminator, and toasting your good fortune that the termites are now swarming away from your house and towards your neighbor’s house with the really big dog that likes to come to your house looking for monkeys and to take a dump in your driveway.
But it could be worse; your neighbors could own a rhino.
Linda (Big Whiney Baby) Zern