Tag: badday

Charlie’s Room: Bad Day

In the latest chapter of the new dinosaur book, Charlie’s favorite character, the dinosaur detective, discovered that his conclusions were wrong. Isaac put the bookmark in the book as Charlie thumped his pillow angrily. “That’s not fair. He wouldn’t make a mistake like that. It’s written wrong,” Charlie complained.

Isaac placed the book on the shelf. “Maybe he’ll find new evidence in the next chapter and find out he was right after all.”

“Maybe.” Charlie flopped back onto his pillow. “Today just went all wrong. Did you ever have a bad day?’

“Lots of times,” Isaac said. “What happened?”

“I think my lucky socks don’t work anymore. What will I do when I need sun for game days? Or when I have a history test?” Isaac rolled over on his side to look at Isaac through the safety bars on his loft bed. “What am I going to do, Dad?”

Isaac leaned back to look up at Charlie. “It may not be as bad as you think. Tell me what went wrong today.”

“My favorite shoes don’t fit anymore. The red ones. They’re too small now and pinch my toes. I knew right then that it was going to be a bad day, so I put on my lucky socks.”

Isaac nodded. “That makes sense. What happened next?”

“I tried my red shoes on again, but they still didn’t fit. So I put on the blue ones. The laces are too long so I had to knot them over and over, but they still kept going untied. The day was obviously doomed at that point.” Charlie rolled over onto his back and stared up at the ceiling.

“And then?”

“And then Mom and I went out to the garden and something had eaten all the strawberries. Even the little green ones that won’t be ripe for weeks. Who does that?” Charlie sounded confused.

Isaac shrugged. “Something really hungry. It’s still early spring, so not a lot of things are ripe, but there’s still a lot of hungry animals out there that weren’t there in the winter.”

“Oh.” Charlie was quiet for a moment. “So maybe it was starving baby squirrels? I guess if they were really hungry, it wouldn’t be so bad.”

“Did anything else happen?”

“I got a paper cut from my origami paper. It was under my thumbnail, right here.” Charlie held up his left hand so Isaac could see. “It really, really hurt. It started bleeding, a lot. But it all stayed under my fingernail, so I didn’t even get a bandaid.”

“I could go get you a bandaid,” Isaac offered.

“Daaaaad.” Charlie dropped his hand. “I’m not a baby. It was just annoying, that’s all. And there were brussel sprouts at dinner. You know I hate brussel sprouts. And we were all out of grape popsicles. And the chapter in the new dinosaur book was awful. It was just a terrible day.”

“Can you think of anything good that happened today?” Isaac asked.

“No.” Charlie rolled over to face Isaac again. “It was all bad.”

“You can’t think of anything at all?”

“No.” Charlie rolled to face the other way. “Nothing at all.”

“You have a nice family. And a garden. And…” Isaac began.

Charlie huffed and interrupted. “I don’t want to count my blessings. It was a bad day. That’s all.”

“Maybe without the lucky socks, it would have been worse.”

“Maybe.” Charlie laughed a little and turned back to face Isaac. “Maybe the house would have burned down.”

“Then I’m glad you were wearing your lucky socks,” Isaac said. “I like our house.”

Charlie sighed. “I do too. Dad, why did I have a bad day? Was it because I didn’t go to bed on time yesterday?”

Isaac shook his head no. “Sometimes people have bad days. Everybody does. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been trying your hardest to be good, you’ll still sometimes have bad days.”

Charlie sat up, frowning. “But why? That’s not fair. Why would good guys have bad days?”

“If you only had good days, I think you might forget how good they are. They’d just seem like normal days, right?”

Charlie shrugged a shoulder. “I guess.”

“When you have a bad day, and the next day is normal, it seems like a good day because it’s not a bad day. I think bad days help us remember the things we have to be grateful for. And they teach us important things like patience, and empathy, and choosing to be happy.”

Charlie flopped back down on his pillow. “I guess so.”

“And now maybe some baby squirrels are going to bed with full tummies,” Isaac pointed out. “That’s good.”

“I guess so.” Charlie shrugged, and his shoulders made a whispery sound against his bed sheets. “Maybe my socks were lucky for the squirrels today, not me.”

“Or maybe they were just busy keeping our house from burning down,” Isaac said.

Charlie laughed. “Yeah, that too.”

Isaac waited a moment, and stood up when Charlie didn’t say anything else. He crossed the room and turned the light out. “Good night, Charlie. I love you.”

“I love you too,” Charlie said. “I am glad you’re my dad, you know. Even on bad days.”

“And I’m glad you’re my Charlie,” Isaac said.

“Good night, Dad.”

“Good night.”

Charlie’s Room: Secret Weapon

Isaac’s only clean pair of black socks had a hole in the toe of one of the socks. He didn’t discover the hole until he put the sock on and his toe poked out the hole in his sock. He had to dig through the laundry basket for a pair of socks he could rewear.

When he started tying his left shoe and the shoelace broke, he knew it was probably going to be one of those days. He tied it back together and tied his shoes. Sure enough, it was rainy and dark when he left for work. Someone was always driving next to him at just his speed when he wanted to switch lanes. He hit every red light.

At work, under the bright florescent lights, he realized that one of the socks he put on was navy, and his shirt was inside-out. His log-in information didn’t work. He had a hundred emails telling him he did something wrong. He left his lunch at home and didn’t have enough time to go buy something.

He had to stay late at work fixing things, listening to his stomach growl. He couldn’t find his scarf when it was time to go home. A puddle stretched across the sidewalk outside the door of his workplace. Isaac had to wade through it to get to his car.

On the way home, his car ran out of gas. He had to walk in the pouring rain to the gas station. The wind turned his umbrella inside out and broke it. He got home very late. Dinner was cold. Charlie had gone to bed early, not feeling well. Marianne was scrubbing a spot on the carpet where he’d thrown up. Isaac greeted her, changed out of his wet clothes, and returned.

She held up the washcloth. “Tag, you’re it. I’ll go heat up your dinner.”

“I can heat it up,” Isaac said.

Marianne shook the washcloth. “Take it anyway. I am so done with this. Why were you home late?”

Isaac shrugged and took the washcloth. “Bad day at work. Ran out of gas. It was one of those days.”

Marianne stood up and Isaac took her place. “Days like that happen, I guess. Did you want to talk about it?” She looked away, and Isaac sighed.

“That’s okay. Go take a break. It looks like you had a hard day, too.”

Marianne looked back and smiled. “Thanks. It has been a little tiring. I think I might go to bed early and read.”

Before long, the house was quiet. Isaac finally got the carpet mostly clean. He went into the kitchen and started to eat his dinner without heating it. Unfortunately, cold spaghetti is slimy. And his hands smelled like vomit even though he’d washed them.

He put his dinner in the microwave and scrubbed his hands again. They still smelled. He washed them again. Was he just imagining things at this point? He put some floral-scented lotion on his hands to mask any remaining smells. The floral scent gave him a headache.

The spaghetti was now a little dried-out and stuck together. But it was no longer slimy. So, he ate it, because at this point, he was really, really hungry. He finished eating, but he was still hungry. He poured himself a bowl of cereal and poured on some milk. It was sour. He tossed the bowl of cereal with a sigh.

The bag of bread was open, and the slice on the end was stale. Isaac ate it anyway. He cleaned up his dishes. He was still a little hungry, but he was too tired to try to find something else to eat. He drank a big glass of cold water. His stomach churned at the sudden cold.

Isaac sneezed as he sat down at his desk, and he reached for a handkerchief. There weren’t any. He went to the kitchen for a paper towel. All gone. There was no toilet paper in the bathroom, either. He changed out the roll for a new one, and finally he could blow his nose.

He sat at his desk and opened the bottom drawer. Isaac had a secret weapon for days like this. At the back of the drawer, there was a small blue book. He tried three pens before he found one that worked. He started writing in his gratitude journal.

His family was safe. His house was warm. The roof didn’t leak. He had dinner waiting for him. There was a gas station within walking distance when he ran out of gas. He didn’t lose his wallet. No one drove by and splashed water on him when he was walking. He messed up at work and didn’t get fired. He had socks without holes. He had shoes without holes. The carpet was clean. Tomorrow would be better.

His problems seemed small. Nothing really terrible had happened, after all. It was just a bad day. Days like that happened sometimes. Isaac sneezed and blew his nose. Time for bed, so that he could fight off this cold. He smiled and put away the journal. Tomorrow was going to be a good day. He could tell.