The Bad Luck Express.

The first time I heard I carried a curse was in a makeshift psychic tent on the pier of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The announcement wasn’t too surprising; after all, I’m pretty sure just being on the Atlantic City pier curses most tourists.

Yes, I see you are cursed. And for only twenty dollars more I can remove your curse,” rattled the psychic sitting across from me with a McDonald’s soda cup to her side.

I shuffled out of the tent in a state of dismay and absentmindedly stuffed my boca with comfort food at the diner a few stalls down.

Liz Lemon Talk to Food / from

While my days of overpaying fake psychics on run-down piers are behind me, the curse may not be. It’s actually a nice kind of curse… it quiets down from time to time, allowing me to think I have free will and the ability to achieve the best in life.

However, recently the curse reared its ugly head. It all began when my car’s inspection sticker expired and the little beep-beep needed a tune-up. Despite my terrible history with cars, I felt hopeful that it would be a quick fix.

Liz Lemon High Five GIF / from

Oops #1: After dropping the car off to our well-loved mechanic, we were told a low cost estimate and a promise the car would be ready for pick-up the same day. Two days later, we were still waiting to hear what was going on.

Oops #2: After the fifth day of holding our car hostage, the telephone rang at almost 10:00pm. It was the mechanic. Let’s just cut to the chase and say this: You never want to hear your mechanic utter the words, ‘I didn’t know what to do, so I watched a YouTube video, and just yanked the part out!

Oops #3: Realizing that just a week before, I dropped off my running car for a quick fix, and now I’m up to my eyeballs in mechanic invoices and apologies. And oh yeah, no vehicle.

Oops #4: This small blunder kicked out any idea of returning to Vermont to celebrate our anniversary.

Liz Lemon Eye Roll GIF / from

All’s well that ends well, though. In a seemingly non-schiester move, the mechanic had a car for sale that happened to be the same year, make, and model as my own proclaimed dead vehicle. Cue eyebrow raise.

The best part of the new-to-me vehicle is the upgraded sunroof. It has this great feature were you open it to let the sunlight in, and it never closes again.

Liz Lemon Tears / from

Have you ever experienced a bad luck streak?
How do you stay laughing through hard times?

35 responses to “The Bad Luck Express.

  1. 😀 😀 Hahaha, “I’m gonna go talk to some food about this” 😀

  2. I just go through the day. We don’t always notice, much less protest, good streaks, so why do we rant bad ones? (Well, because we don’t like them.)
    And find something to laugh about. Irony, jokes, comedy clips. Anything.

  3. great story!! Curses aside, a great ending. We just never know!! Sometimes a wonderful surprise!!

  4. Oh goodness, so sorry to hear about all your car difficulties! I got in an accident two winters ago, and it seemed like the repairs/mysterious issues/problems/non-working-doors would never end. Though your situation is different, it still took two months for me to get an actual honest-to-goodness working car to be back in my possession. It was so frustrating. Hope the sunroof improves . . . and that things get better soon!

  5. The Liz Lemmon clips made my day. . . and yeah, bad luck stinks. Hope things turn around! xox!

  6. Oh man I hate car troubles! Sorry hon.. that’s a horrible string of bad luck. At least you can laugh about it with hilarious Tiny Fey gifs! 😉

  7. I’ve totally had bad luck streaks. I hate car troubles. Sorry about that! Yay for a new sunroof though!

  8. Wow, what a story! Car troubles are the worst. We had to spend close to $5k on our car a couple years ago because it needed a new engine and we still had payments left on it, so we couldn’t just get another car.

    I love Tina Fey so I enjoyed those gifts within your post! 🙂

    • I always say that I’d be ten times happier if I lived in an area I could bike everywhere. Cars are money pits! And $5K?! I think I’d have a heart attack. Thank goodness for bad streaks passing, and for Tina Fey to laugh in between 🙂

  9. I mean, Angel sometimes watches youtube videos when he’s trying to figure out how to fix something on our car…but he’s free. A mechanic probably should know what he’s doing…

    • Exactly! I use YouTube for tutorials all the time. Last summer, Michael and I fixed our gasket cover on our car and we did it by watching YouTube videos. But when you’re paying someone thousands of dollars, you hope the person knows what’s up!


    Hi Caitlin,
    I really want to enjoy your blog so I mean no offense. However, perhaps for the betterment of your blog and to start a productive discussion, I want to point out your use of the word, “schiester,” or the more commonly used, “shyster.” Why did you choose to use that term in this post referring to a dishonest mechanic? Your answer to that will fuel an interesting discussion.

    I do not consider myself a particularly political person. I’m not overly sensitive, or any of that. I’d say I’m pretty regular. I have always taken it as a given that “shyster” is, without a doubt, anti-Semitic. We can take it back to Shylock, etc. But, speaking about how it has been commonly used, it carries that specific sting, referring to an unscrupulous Jewish businessman. Now, like I say, I’m not one to bow down to being politically correct. I find it pretty hilarious. It can be useful but it can be annoying, you know?

    If you do choose to post my comment and respond, I hope you don’t start in with one of those formal apologies explaining how you did not mean to offend me. Don’t worry so much about me. Worry, I guess, about your choice. Why did you choose to use that term? And you chose to go with “schiester.” In German, “scheisse” means excrement. It’s interesting how words and history and discourse and blogs can interconnect.


    • Hi Henry, nice to be acquainted. Don’t worry about a formal apology – I don’t apologize for my words because the intentions behind the words are never poor, ill, or negative.

      Thank you for giving me a brief history lesson in schiester versus shyster. If you click on the link attached to the word I used (schiester), you will find the following urban definition:
      1. One who will one at all costs, using trickery if necessary.
      2. A trickster.

      In the region I live, schiester has always been used in a figurative form. I’ve never heard it attached to Judism in any sense, nor have I ever heard someone use the word in an anti-Semitic way. In my state, people use this word to describe tricksters. While living in another region in the US, again, this word was solely related to tricksters.

      The most important thing to remember about words is that they can mean a variety of different things in different states, countries, cultures, etc. That is why I link any slang/local words I use in my blog so people understand the meaning behind it.

      I don’t feel one word either takes away, or gives something, to a blog. A blog is an overall experience of words; not a single word in a single post out of 200+. But I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

  11. Hi Caitlin,
    I appreciate your take on this. I can’t tell what region of the country you’re in. But that does not matter. We’re one big global village in so many ways now, don’t you think? I’m not Jewish, so I’m not taking offense on that level. It’s more an instinctive thing based on experience, reading, and general observation.

    Of course, words have many meanings, and interpretations. That’s my point. One can hide behind words. One can do so many things with words. One can talk about homesteading and about being grateful and such. That’s all very nice. I’m just saying that this word carries a lot of baggage. I’m really surprised that you wouldn’t acknowledge that. And one word alone does carry a lot of weight.

    Good to have this exchange. Ultimately, this was an idea I thought worth discussing.

    • I’m surprised to see you delve into my posts and apparent/proposed meanings behind them so quickly. To see one word in one post and suddenly feel as though I may be “hiding behind” homesteading and gratitude, that’s surprising.

      I acknowledge that any word can have bad intentions or bad connotations. With that said, I also believe that any blog reader could venture to any blog and find something they personally (because of their background, religion, culture, beliefs, etc.) don’t agree with, or are offended by. For example, I could venture to your blog and feel offended by some of the graphics/words that are shared in your graphic novel reviews. Offense isn’t your intention in your reviews, but that’s how it could be perceived.

      There are endless words that have negative historical contexts, but that doesn’t mean that’s what someone is implying when using it. Anyone that has read any of my writing posts (not solely a Tale of Laughter) or has read my blog for a while, knows I don’t stand for discrimination, oppression, or any form of hate. As a brand new blog reader to The Siren’s Tale, this is unknown to you and may be why your eyebrow raised in the way it did over one word. I can’t really say, as I am not you and do not know your intentions in this discussion.

      If anyone read this post and felt offended by the word “schiester”, I apologize for any negativity that word holds in your life, background, culture, religion, or belief system. In my life/background/culture/religion, it’s just a term for people who try to pull a trick on you.

  12. Sounds fine to me, Caitlin. I’m not saying that you personally have some secret agenda to circulate a particular word. That’s silly.

    No, I’m on your side. Do me a favor and dig deeper on this particular word. Trust me, this is not some pet project of mine. I simply wanted to note my observation on your blog, perhaps start up a discussion.

    Again, good exchange. No need to apologize.

    • Henry, I took your advice and delved deeper into the word schiester. I found lots of interesting material, but nothing to show the word has any anti-Semitic connotations whatsoever.

      Tablet Mag, a daily Jewish magazine, discussed the word and its origin. Gerald Cohen (a master etymologist) found the following about the word: “Cohen’s first major endeavor in this field, beginning in 1976, was a seven-year effort to clarify the origin of shyster. After he had begun his research, Roger Mohovich of the New-York Historical Society drew his attention to newspaper articles in 1843 about the Tombs, the city prison. Editor Mike Walsh denounced scammers who took prisoners’ money by pretending to be lawyers who would get them out. One of the scammers who actually knew something about the law disparaged his rivals by calling them shisers, British criminal slang for worthless people. (It comes ultimately from the German word for excrement.) Walsh misheard it as shiseters, and a new word was born.” (found from:

      The New York Law Journal also discussed the word, after a 2012 disagreement over its usage in the New York Observer (who publicly printed and used the version ‘shyster’). The NYLJ stated: “Cohen found no anti-Semitism in the derivation of shyster. It was coined by a Manhattan newspaper editor in 1843-1844. Cohen described how the newspaper was on a crusade against legal and political corruption then in the city. During this crusade, the editor formed the word “shyster” from the vulgar German word Scheisse (= excrement), hence “scheisser” became “shyster.” This, says respected lexicologist Garner, is the correct etymology of shyster.” (found from:'Shyster'-Anti-Semitic?slreturn=20140222175140)

      In fact, no matter how much I researched, the word ‘schiester’ – especially in the version/spelling I used – is in no way attached to, originated from, or based off anything anti-Semitic. Have there been people along the way through life who may have used this word in a hateful way? I’m sure of it – just as many words have been used in hateful ways. But the word itself is not rooted in hate, or in much of anything considering it took a master etymologist years of his career to even figure out what the word meant.

      Thanks for having me ‘do this favor’ and look more into the word. It reaffirmed that my usage of it was appropriate.

  13. Ha ha, cute (for us, the readers, not for unlucky you of course!) 🙂

    This past January, I had one week with a streak of bad luck: My keurig coffee brewer crashed, my vacuum cleaner gave up the ghost, and our internet connection required maintenance that took the whole week to come back. Thankfully, these things only happen in threes, they say. I missed the internet the most, coffee maker a close second until it was replaced, and the vacuum cleaner? Not so much. 😉 That never got replaced until a week ago.

    So I know your pain!

    • Oh my goodness, that sounds like one heck of a bad luck streak! I think with bad luck: when it rains, it pours. I try to remind myself that it’s life just getting the murky times out of the way for more good 🙂

      It’s too bad vacuum cleaners can’t stay broken… permanently, haha.

  14. I just read your above exchange. How very interesting! Loved the way you handled it. x

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  16. If these things happen in 3’s, this year has been a year of constant multiples of threes, darnit. It’s nice to be able to laugh together about them and I appreciate your candor. Great to discover your blog!

    Maggie, at Notes From Maggie’s Farm (

    P.S. HOW DO YOU REMOVE A CURSE?? (lol. Sorta.)

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