Murphy's Law asserts that if something can go wrong, it will. I'd like to offer Glazer's Axiom: Bad news always arrives on Friday after 6 p.m.
There are also a couple of corollaries. First, really, really bad news arrives after 6 p.m. on Fridays that are followed by a Monday holiday. Second, those little notes from the mail carrier notifying you of an attempt to deliver a registered letter are always stuck to your front door on Saturday while you're at the grocery store.
Then you're left with your imagination, augmented by a sometimes less-than-pristine conscience, to agonize over who in the world could be sending you a registered letter. The possibility of good news is seldom entertained. No, good news comes via a phone call or the Prize Patrol bearing an impossibly huge bouquet of balloons and a giant check. Bad news comes via registered mail.
Letters from attorneys stating they need to speak with you about "a matter of utmost importance" are always discovered in the mailbox on Friday evening, leaving you with 48 hours to agonize over offenses, both real and imagined, that could have prompted a lawyer to write a letter or, for that matter, use the word "utmost."
A few weeks ago I had a big sale in my shop. It took place on a Friday. That afternoon I assembled a deposit, including a number of checks, and sent them off to my bank. It was 6 p.m. when I looked at the deposit receipts.
Then I looked again. None of the checks had been credited. According to the receipt, I'd only deposited some cash. At 6:02, I tried to call the bank. They must have been up and out the door when the minute hand hit 12. Either that or they just didn't answer the phone after 6.
So there I was, on what happened to be my birthday weekend, trying to imagine every possible scenario and outcome. What if the checks were somehow lost? How could I prove I had them in the first place? I tried to remember who had written them in case I needed to ask for replacements. I couldn't remember what I had for lunch, much less who had written a dozen checks.
My husband, who makes Bobby McFerrin of "Don't Worry, Be Happy" fame look like a scowling pessimist, didn't see what the big deal was. "Don't beat yourself up about it." he offered unhelpfully. "They'll fix it on Monday."
But worry I did. I was up earlier than Karen Minton the next morning, logging into my online bank account to see if the errant checks had been discovered and credited. They had not.
I stopped by one of the branch banks that kept Saturday hours. The teller was sympathetic and reassuring.
They'd look into it first thing Monday.
Then I set about performing some world class worrying. I spent what should have been a festive weekend being grouchy and preoccupied. It wasn't because I was turning 50-whatever and had started receiving emails from the Scooter Store. Certainly, that didn't help, but mostly it was because my mind kept poking at that missing check situation like a tongue bothering at a cold sore.
Do I even need to recount the outcome? The mistake was found and corrected first thing Monday. I had surrendered two days of my life to misery and fretting that accomplished nothing and did not affect the outcome one iota.
I also did not learn anything from the experience.
Want proof? The following Friday I realized with all the turmoil the previous week, I'd forgotten to renew my car tag, which had been due on my birthday. Naturally, this awareness hit after 6 p.m. I promptly started worrying. What if I got pulled over? What if there was a license check road block? How much was a ticket for having an expired tag? Would there be points on my license? Would I lose my license?
Two days later I took the back roads to the Quillian's Corner tax office, paid my tax and a modest late fee and renewed my tag. All that worrying was for naught.
Glazer's Axiom in action.
Teressa Glazer is a Gainesville businesswoman. Her column appears biweekly on Fridays and on gainesvilletimes.com.