As I was getting out my car, I saw a quarter lying on the floor mat. Placing my laptop case on the roof of the car, I stooped to pick up the quarter, and tucked it into a little storage compartment. Then I closed the door – only to realize that the car keys were lying on the driver’s seat and the car door was locked. Fortunately, I lucked out: only the driver’s door was locked. The other doors were unlocked, so I climbed into the back seat, then reached over the driver’s seat and grabbed the keys. So far, so good.

Now I wanted to lock all the car doors, and that can be done easily by pushing a button located on the driver’s door. But trying to reach that button from the back seat proved frustrating, since my long arm carried my fingers to within a quarter-inch of the button, but no closer. Several attempts at stretching and straining in the most uncomfortable positions led to deeper frustration, all the while thinking how much easier and more efficient it would have been simply to have gotten out of the car and used the key to open the driver’s door, then press the lock button.

Finally, with a few more creative contortions, my fingers reached the button. I pushed it, and all the doors locked. Then I got out, closed the rear door, and grabbed the laptop case that I had placed on the roof, only to discover that its zipper-tab was being pinched by the front door, so I couldn’t lift the case off the roof. It was stuck; which meant I had to unlock and open the front door — the very thing I had been trying to avoid with all those arm-stretching backseat contortions.

Unlocking the front door freed the case, so I closed the door and relocked the car. My troubles were just beginning. Grabbing the case and yanking it from the roof, the lid swung open and out flew cell phone, wallet, keys, iPod, DVD’s, pill bottles, etc., all scattering themselves across the driveway! (The laptop, thank God, was spared.)

There comes a point at which misfortune becomes so absurd that the only appropriate response is laughter. And that’s exactly what I did, as I leaned back against the car for a minute and just laughed. Then I decided to write it all down for your entertainment pleasure. Yes, magicians are human too.