How Things Even Out
by Jack Handey
March 3, 2008
Things tend to even out. Religion, some people say, has caused wars and fighting. Yes, but it’s also boring to sit through a church service, so it evens out. One moment you’re depressed because your doctor tells you that you have alcoholism. But then you cheer up when you go home and find a hidden bottle of vodka you had forgotten about.
Things are evening out all the time, if you take time to notice, like I do. Let’s say you want a big cupcake, with lots of icing, so you go buy one and eat it. But then you realize, I don’t have the cupcake anymore. Or maybe you take a bite of salsa that’s labelled “HOT,” and it doesn’t seem that hot, but then about a second later it seems really hot.
You might hear that some guy you know is having a party, so you call him up, but he says there’s no party. But then you call back, using a different voice, and suddenly there is a party.
One day, you ask people to take a look at a skin rash you have. Then, a few days later, you’re looking at their rashes. You send someone a death threat and then, mysteriously, the police come to your house and threaten you.
Maybe you find a nice flat pebble on a riverbank, and when you pick it up and throw it it skips across the water several times. But then the next pebble you can’t even pry loose because, what is this, glue mud? You notice an ant drifting away on a leaf in the water. Then you look up to see your aunt drifting away in a rowboat.
Eventually, I believe, everything evens out. Long ago, an asteroid hit our planet and killed our dinosaurs. But, in the future, maybe we’ll go to another planet and kill their dinosaurs.
Even in the afterlife things probably even out, although I can’t imagine how.
Still don’t believe that things even out? Try this simple test: flip a coin, over and over again, calling out “Heads!” or “Tails!” after each flip. Half the time people will ask you to please stop.
Once you realize that things even out, it’s like a light being turned on in your head, then being turned off, then being turned to “dim.”
Probably the perfect example of things evening out happened to me just last month. I was walking to the post office to mail a death threat. It was a beautiful day. I was happily singing away in my super-loud singing voice. I didn’t step on any chewing gum, like I usually do, and when I threw my gum down it didn’t stick to my fingertips. As I rounded the corner, there was a bum begging for change. I was feeling pretty good, so I gave him a five-dollar bill. At first I tried to make him do a little dance for the five dollars, but he wouldn’t do it, so I gave him the five dollars anyway.
Not long after that, I was reading the paper, and there was a picture of the bum. He had won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry! He had a little bigger nose and straighter teeth, but I’m pretty sure it was him. So, my five dollars had made him change his ways and become a chemistry guy.
A few days later, I was walking by the corner again, and there was the bum, back begging. So, things had evened out. He had gotten the Nobel Prize, but now he was a bum again. I asked him for the five dollars back, but he started saying weird stuff that I guess was chemistry formulas or something.
I told my friend Don the story, but he said it wasn’t an example of things evening out so much as just a stupid story. That’s interesting, Don, because you saying that evens out what I said to your mother that time.
I have a lot of stories about things evening out, but I think the one about the Nobel Prize-winning bum is the best. I’d say it would take about three of my other stories to even out that one.