HAPPY ACCIDENTS Volume One: Offbeat Personal Essay-Stories Exploring the Irony in the Ordinary
Quietly hilarious. Deceptively meaningful. These humorous personal essays reveal the irony in the seemingly ordinary events of life.
Whether we’re getting a cup of coffee (Hurry Up And Wait), or choosing a bumper sticker for our car (Mean People Suck), or failing at step-parenting (Dancing In The Street), or brushing our teeth (Black Teeth And Bubonic Plague), or watering our suburban yard (Plein Air Peeing), we are tripping over and bumping into happy accidents, both ridiculous and sublime, as we navigate our seemingly ordinary life.
In Happy Accidents you will meet a buxom tattoo-covered barista, a 7-year-old boy giving dance lessons at a bus stop, dentists and Volvo mechanics sending their kids off to Harvard, a confused divorcee, and George of the Jungle–all going about their ordinary day while wrestling with deep philosophical questions, like, “Is the world round or flat?”
“Beautifully crafted, poignant, and humorous. David Boyne
reminds us that happiness, indeed, is not an accident.”
— Paula Margulies, Coyote Heart
An excerpt from the essay, Plein Air Peeing…
Recently, on a chilled early morning, I stood in the backyard
of a San Diego home and I rediscovered a long-forgotten pleasure of
being a guy and being alive: Peeing Outdoors.
Don’t get me wrong: indoor plumbing is one of my favorite inventions.
But in the sanitized time and place in which I live, Peeing Outdoors
is unusual, out of the ordinary. Not to mention, illegal.
On this chilled early morning while I was Peeing Outdoors, I stood in
a private yard, partly screened by the leafy tree I was watering,
disturbing no one, and when done, leaving nothing behind but an
invisible, chemically coded message only the neighborhood’s dogs could
Being a modern day city dweller, I spend almost all of the hours of
my once-in-a-lifetime Life indoors. Which means I live in
boxes of one form or another. For what is a house or office, but a
collection of connected boxes? What is a car, but a box on wheels? An
airplane, but a box with wings? Computers, phones, and television
screens are electronic boxes. Most of us move through Time and Space not
just Thinking Inside the Box, but Living there.
How very, very few of the minutes of our lives do we simply stand
outside, looking around, feeling the sunlight, shade, or night, sensing
the temperature, sifting the air, just Being Alive.
I peed for a long, long time.
And as I peed, a montage of memories unreeled across the movie screen of my mind.
I saw myself, 6-years old, wearing only white underpants, laughing
while being chased around the yard of our home by a visiting uncle, then
suddenly pulling up beside a dogwood tree and showering it. I saw
myself, 17-years old, hiking in the scraggly woods of Connecticut, and
peeing on the rocks and fire-colored autumn leaves littering the ground.
Suddenly I was 36-years-old, and standing in a backyard in Portland,
Oregon at 3am beneath a starry, starry sky, and peeing beside me was the
golden retriever puppy who entered my life that very day and with whom I
would share so much of the next 11 years.
I kept peeing and the movie montage kept playing. I laughed
softly watching the scene of my girlfriend’s 5-year-old son–with whom I
had watched the movie Ghostbusters, at least 26 times–running
into the bathroom while I was peeing, expertly unzipping and dropping
his pants, and peeing beside me, both of us shouting, “Don’t cross the streams!” And then, of course, deliberately crossing the streams.
(an excerpt of the essay, Plein Air Peeing, from Happy Accidents by David Boyne)
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