Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Bad Karma

I was paying close attention to the lecturer when the unthinkable happened.

About ten rows ahead of me, a student brought his hands up to his face to stop it, but too late. Instantly, he was violently ill, and his hands merely served as deflectors for the rapidly escaping contents of his stomach. The explosion was so fierce that he spray-painted everyone inside a five-yard radius.

If you had thrown a snake amongst a troop of baboons, you could not have hoped for a better reaction. A visible wave of revolt rolled trough the lecture room as everyone simultaneously attempted to move away from the carnage.

That was the first time I had noticed Hein. He had the unfortunate privilege to take the brunt of the blast right in the neck, and was dripping from head to toe. I fully expected his shoes to slosh when he started walking.

No one had any desire to learn for the rest of that day.

Afterwards we became close friends. Slowly I learned that his accident was not an isolated incident. Every now and then something unpleasant would happen to him. I do not know why; trust me, it could not have been to a nicer guy.

One day he showed up with both thumbs heavily bandaged, and with a huge gash on his forehead.

Apparently he had been changing the oil in his car. Being the perfectionist that he was, he ran the engine until it was hot so that the old oil would drain easily. After he was done he realized that he had overfilled the engine with lubricant, and again he was under the car and undoing the oil plug to release the excess.

But the engine was hot and he was in a hurry. He fumbled and the plug fell into the catch pan.

As students we did not have a lot of cash, and he desperately wanted to preserve his new investment. Therefore he put his thumb on the hole, while with his other hand he was searching around in the scalding hot used oil.

Soon the pain became unbearable and still he could not find the plug, so he switched hands and tried again. Unfortunately, because he was in great haste, he did not put his cigarette out before going under the car. Now in the commotion, it fell out of his mouth and in between two buttons on his shirt.

What he said is best not printed. According to his girlfriend, while he was frantically trying to slither out from under there; between all the shouting and expletives she heard two loud thumps as his head was hitting the undercarriage of the car.

Smoking was obviously detrimental to his health. But then again, life itself did not always agree with him.

Jan Tik

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