My Grandpa Melvin used to say, If it’s not one thing, then it’s another. It’s a common saying–one I cannot truly attribute to him. But, I like to imagine him saying this oft-used quotable, because I loved him and I can picture him doing so with a goofy grin and good-humour. Maybe even with a bit of puckish appreciation for the absurd and ludicrous.
I’ve tended to view this observation of life as linear, like all the shitty things that might and will knock you around are all waiting in a nice, orderly queue. Shitty Thing A happens, you manage through it with grace or strife, and then Shitty Thing B happens, and so on, ad infinitum et nauseam.
If we add a few more adages to the pile, I suspect we get a clearer picture of the human experience: It’s either feast or famine, When it rains it pours, Shit happens. (My mother used to own a keychain with that last pithy expression. It’s a ’90s thing.)
If the Fates are kind, we get some breaks between the shitty things–times that infuse us with enough hope and happiness so we’re better armoured to battle the shit when it flies.
Or, we’re Oedipus.
The point is, I think, the first adage, that motto of Grandpa Melvin, is pretty decent, and my interpretation, when repositioned, could be dead-on:
If it’s not one thing, then it’s another. So, take care of that one thing, and after that, the other.