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The Inflatable Ostrich and a Reminder About Life


This is how the scene played out for me Saturday evening. I had gone out to Dollar General to get some children’s Tylenol and some of that menthol stuff you put in the Vick’s steam vaporizers. Little Girl had developed a cough and slight fever again, and after the last week of fighting off the flu, we had run out of the basic necessities. Since the wife had been at work all day and her family was over, I told her I would make the run out real quick.

So I’m standing there in the checkout line after taking damn near 10 minutes just to locate the vaporizer stuff. Who would’ve thought to look in the lotions and not with the vaporizers themselves? Psssht. I was the next person in line behind a woman who appeared to be buying sodas for some kind of church event the next day. There was a couple in line behind me with some baby and toddler items. I’m guessing they were returning from date night and getting things they needed before heading home.

Out of nowhere a man, who just happens to be a neighbor in the same apartment building comes in with this inflatable ostrich costume on like the one pictured above.

“Howdy y’all! How you fine folks doing this evening?” he shouts. All of us were startled and slightly confused as to what the hell was going on at this point. We knew it wasn’t a robbery, I knew the guy wasn’t on drugs, but that was all that was known.

“Excuse me miss,” he says to the befuddled clerk. “Do y’all sell ostrich eggs here?”

With a puzzled and slightly worried look on her face, the clerk calmly and quietly responded, “No sir.”

The man pets the ostrich on the head and says “Sorry buddy. We’re out of luck.” And out the ostrich cowboy rode on his trusty… ummm… steed?

Needless to say, it was one of the most random things that has happened to me in quite a while. I’ve found myself in quite some strange places and situation in the past. But this was something different. While the event provoked some strange looks and uncertainty, it also induced a huge smile and laughter out of everyone in the store who had witnessed it. I found out later that the costume the neighbor was wearing was part of a church activity for kids just down the strip, and he had been dared to come up to the store and do it.

As I pondered the strange event later that evening, I started to find that in some way, it had provided me with a valuable reminder about life. Actually, a couple of valuable reminders.

Life is often one big unexpected curve ball — Very often, life throws at us the most unexpected of curve balls. We swing with all of our might, chasing after the pitch that’s trying to strike us out. For me personally, the last few years have been full of these surprise pitches and running the bases hardcore, not knowing if I would be tagged out or beat the throw to the plate. Can you tell I’ve been watching a lot of baseball recently? It’s hard to prepare for unexpected events in life, but there’s a lot to be said for being simply aware that they may occur at any moment. We could be anywhere, with anyone, at any time, and the unexpected might occur. Though we are powerless to stop it, we do hold the power to react accordingly and move forward as needed. This is something I learned quickly when I was diagnosed with advanced testicular cancer in 2012.

In an age fraught with depressing news, shock and sadness, we all need a moment to stop, smile and laugh a little — The neighbor whom I may forever dub as “the ostrich man,” came over last night when I told him I was going to write this post. He explained what they had been doing at the church and about the dare that brought him riding in the Dollar General that evening. We discussed the joys of bringing a smile to people’s faces, especially to the faces of children. I told him that while the whole thing left me slightly confused, it did bring a smile and a laugh to an otherwise dismal evening of dealing with illness in the house. Those who know me well know that I like to joke and sometimes have a hard time being serious. I enjoy making people laugh and bringing a smile to the face of others. It’s great to have the same happen to me to let me know there is still laughter in this world.

We get easily lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. We are bombarded from all sides with negative media and negative people. We often become too content in our skin and think that we are in control of our own lives. Then life comes along and says, “Guess what, you’re not always in control.” I’ve learned this many times throughout my 31 years. The ostrich man was another great reminder that no matter what, at any point, life can bring the unexpected. And that life is too short to not crack a smile and laugh every now and then. After all, it’s those two things that make life what it is to begin with.

This blog was originally published on The DaddyYo Dude.

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