Living Columns & Blogs

Three things that almost shattered me

The biggest disappointment in my life is the slushee maker I bought last summer.

When I saw it in Kroger, I thought, “This is the kind of thing you’d find in a welcome basket when you got to heaven.”


It was a plastic cup with three vinyl “ice cubes” — and what it made was a sluree, not a slushee. It was the kind of trick they’d play on you when you got to hell.

The second biggest disappointment in my life is the lack of any encounter with quicksand.

As a boy, I figured a major part of adulthood was dealing with quicksand. It was in so many books, movies, comics and TV shows. With a mixture of trepidation and resolve, I memorized quicksand survival techniques to prepare myself.


I’m 54 and I’ve been many places, but I’ve never seen quicksand or met anyone who has. What a cheat.

The third biggest disappointment in my life is the novel “Xenocide” by Orson Scott Card. Since it was the sequel to my all-time favorite book — “Speaker for the Dead” — I knew it would be the printed-word version of meat on a stick.


It was like canned green beans. The Good Value ones.

How could someone write the best novel ever and follow it with such dreck? It puzzled me for years, until one day the answer popped fully formed into my head. He did it on purpose.

Card wrote “Speaker for the Dead” just so he could disappoint me with the abomination of “Xenocide.” The cur.

But I got the last bitter laugh. Like I said, it was only my third biggest disappointment. That hack couldn’t even top a cruddy slushee maker and ungrounded quicksand jitters.

These disappointments have been good for me. They have taught me a lesson, one best expressed thusly:

You can’t always get what you want. No, you can’t always get what you want. You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well, you just might find that you get “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” on your radio app.