Often, when life goes astray, treats us unfairly, or we seem to be on the short end of the stick, we don’t get the satisfaction of seeing the universe balance the scales. Life isn’t fair. It just is and sometimes when bad things happen the world, the perpetrators seem to get away Scott free. Alas, in order to maintain sanity, I choose to ignore it and refuse to get caught up in trauma-drama about the crappy way the world is run.
However, there are a few shining moments when the Universe, God, or the Great Spirit (whichever you prefer) demonstrates a great sense of humor in balancing the scales, and a bad situation rights itself or the abuser gets, as my grandmother used to say, come-uppance. I think come-uppance karma is a wonderful thing—especially when I see it first-hand.
I’ve been blessed several times when come-uppance karma brought relief to impossible situations in my life. One stands out bright and clear.
Once upon a time, I lived in Houston Texas with my strong-willed husband, Lee, who was, I’m sure, bent on making my life miserable. And, this is a major task because, generally, I feel pretty good about myself.
One day, he decided that two peacocks, beehives, humongous salt water fish tanks, a passel of Mallard ducks, and a cat weren’t enough. He wanted a Macaw. He insisted on getting a one. So, he found a beautiful Blue and Gold Macaw at a bargain price. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that if someone is selling a $2500 Macaw for $600, there’s something amiss. But, he didn’t see it that way and bought the bird. He also insisted that the bird NOT be put into a cage. I agreed with this because I don’t like to see these magnificent, large birds caged up. So, Fred the bird built a perch six feet tall and twelve feet long. It was equipped with bells, rings, doofaws, and all sorts of bingle-jammers.
Fred, like all of Lee’s toys and pets, was enjoyed for a while, but he quickly grew tired of the responsibility of having a 3-foot head-totail, psychotic bird. True to his M.O. he stopped being enthralled and proceeded to ignore Fred. Macaws take a lot of care, so guess who ended up with the job of parenting a cantankerous hook-bill? Me of course, along with all the other animals in our zoo! I fed, bathed, and cleaned up after Fred. I even tried to make friends with him.
But alas, it was not to be. From the get-go, Fred was cantankerous and mean. He squawked loudly, wouldn’t let anyone near him, terrorized my cat, and proceeded to eat the furniture, baseboards, ceiling fan blades, wicker chairs, and cupboard doors. This bird ate an entire peacock wicker chair in one day. He destroyed a Galleon ship model that took me five years to build. In other words, Fred was the bird from Hell.
I continually complained to Lee about Fred’s destructive and grouchy ways. I suggested selling him or donating him to the zoo. But, NO! Lee’s precious bird could not be removed. This went on for months with no hope of ousting Fred and stopping his rampage. Until, that is, fate stepped in. My stubborn spouse bought an extraordinarily expensive, brand new bicycle. He was so in love with this bike, I was not allowed to touch it. He polished it, talked to it, and treated it with tender care. He parked it in the living room next to Fred’s perch. Ha Ha! Big mistake. But I said nothing.
As it turns out, Fred liked the bicycle too. After Lee left for work one fine day, Fred cocked his head to fix a black beady eye on the shiny new bike and gave it a hungry look. “MMMMM! That looks tasty,” I imagined him saying in his evil little mind. Hopping down from his perch to the handlebars, he soon discovered that the seat was just the right softness for ripping to shreds, and rolling the stuffing with his tongue into hard little balls that were fun to spit out all over the room. And the tires, oooh oooh, nice and chewy. I looked on with a sense of perverse joy as Fred was feasting, eating his fill of the sleek, pricey bicycle. I still smile in satisfaction whenever I think of Fred chomping and ripping away at its soft parts like a kid with cotton candy.
When Lee came home and saw his bike in shreds, he hit the roof! “What happened?” he screamed, as if I had eaten his bike. Suddenly Fred was on Lee’s S&^% list. “Call the Zoo!, “ he yelled and Fred’ fate was sealed. Aaaaah. the next morning I called the Houston Zoo. We were in luck, they had one Macaw and were looking for another. “How much do you want?” they asked. “You can have him,” I replied with glee.
So Fred was moved to a nice new home in the large rain forest enclosure in the Houston Zoo. He seemed to love it there. He made friends, could fly to his heart’s content, and had all the fresh fruit, nuts, and branches to chew on that he could possibly want. He was in Fred heaven.
In those days, I was an avid photographer. I would go into the Rain Forest enclosure early in the morning, before most visitors arrived and take photos of the birds. Whenever Fred spotted me. He would lock onto me with the steely, hateful eyes, squawk, and inch away to the far end of the branch. “Bye Fred. Have a good life.”
Come-Uppance is the best. It worked out great for all of us. I no longer had a huge, stinky mess in my house with an animal that hated me. My cat stopped cowering at the slightest noise. Lee bought a new seat for his bicycle, confident that it wouldn’t become lunch. And Fred got the best deal of all. Perhaps he just wasn’t cut out for domesticity. After all, he wasn’t born in captivity. He was, we learned later, smuggled in from South America after being captured in the wild. Maybe his captors too met with come-uppance and changed their woeful ways. I can only hope.
What about you? Any Cash or Come-Uppance Karma in your life? Love to hear about them.