Why knockin’ on wood makes me flinch.

The summer before my sophomore year of high school, things were going well. My mom had a good job, we were settled in our rental house, there was money in the house for the first time in years – she made some comment about how positive things were and then followed up with, “Knock on wood.”

And the dramatic DUN DUN DUN! should have been playing in the background.

The following things went wrong in the next 7 days.

  1. Our neighbors, who we rented our house from, announced they were divorcing after 37 years of marriage. And wanted us to move out in the next 30 days so they could sell the house. (Didn’t end up having to move, but it was a tense week.)
  2. Mom’s friend had to go into the hospital and we had to keep her son with us for an afternoon while waiting for his father to pick him up. This dude was going to be a freshman and was a total bull in a china cabinet. I don’t think he actually broke anything, but it was touch and go.
  3. While the bull child was at our house, my mom got a call from my Grandma – Grandma was hiding in the garage to call (long distance – gasp – possibly even daytime rates!) and tell Mom that Grandpa wasn’t doing well – was depressed, etc, and that Mom needed to call at some point that day and announce we were coming for a day to visit.
  4. My cat somehow had a spider bite and ended up with a HUGE abscess on her ass – looked like she had a second butthole. Off to the vet for that. I think the worst of it was that the abscess scab popped on the way to the vet and the smell was horrific.
  5. My dad stopped by to see me – Mom greeted him at the door saying, “If you don’t have anything positive to tell your daughter, turn around and go home.” Damn good thing she greeted him that way – he had come by to tell me that he and my step-mom were splitting up. I found out a week later.

To this day – more or less half my life later – when someone says “Knock on Wood” I practically run for a helmet to put on to protect me from what is sure to be the sky falling.