My initial reaction to reading this was “Good golly, is it possible to mangle the English language any more than that?” and “Would somebody please give Joe some tutoring in the use of prepositional phrases?”

My second reaction was “Well, there’s another threat of bodily harm.”  So I’m putting it here because that’s what it is.  A threat to hurt me, physically hurt me.  Joe wants to hurt me physically because I said mean things on the internet.   I’m sure I called him a “pussy” and a “coward” and therefore he is going to kill me.  That’s what deadly force means.

But then I caught the whole “their (sic) fucking lucky” stuff.

And yes, I am fucking lucky.

Out of all the times and places where I could have been born, I was born in the United States in the twentieth century and I was born white (white privilege is morally wrong but it is real).  I was born to parents who had flaws, for sure, but who believed strongly in providing me with a decent home, good nutrition, medical care when necessary and a good education.

I had to pay for my college education myself, but at no point in my early years did I ever once consider not going.  It was unthinkable.  That would have been like thinking that I might not brush my teeth, or that I might rob a bank.

I am lucky because I managed to ditch Boyfriend A and Boyfriend B, be ditched by Boyfriend C, and then hit the jackpot in the marriage lottery.

I am lucky because Dave and I both have enjoyed good health all our lives thus far. Even if we developed some dire problem now, we’ve spent decades as healthy adults.

I am lucky because my husband has a super-strong work ethic, and was reared by a mother who countenanced no nonsense when it came to pulling your own weight.

I am lucky because we have spent 46 (soon to be 47) years as a partnership of equals, one where my desires and goals and dreams have carried just as much weight as his do.

I am lucky because even though we were only able to produce one child, he was a genius.

I am lucky because even though our one child has died, he was our best friend. He loved us enough to want to spend time with us, and he knew that he was loved in return.

I am lucky because Nathan chose his friends well and they have been beyond good to us in the wake of his death.

I am lucky because Dave and I were able to both retire at a young age, and we face our sunset years with a reasonable level of financial security, thanks in part to the US government (Social Security) and the US economy (our own investments).

I am lucky because due to that early retirement, we have been able to travel a lot, not only all over North America, but also to many foreign countries.

I am lucky because even though I was immersed in a lunatic religion as a youngster, I was able to escape.  Not many people are able to do that. Most remain imprisoned for life.

I am lucky because Dave joined me in the escape from religion.  Many people who leave are faced with the loss of their most precious relationships as a result.

I am lucky because when I come up with hair-brained schemes (“let’s move to Alaska” or “let’s buy a small farm with a milk cow” or “let’s go on four cruises back-to-back”), Dave will join in enthusiastically unless I’ve gone completely off the rails (“let’s go to Atlanta and demonstrate and get put in jail” – I didn’t do that one).  And when he has his own plans (“let’s get a new tractor” or “let’s buy a Freightliner to pull our RV”), I’ve embraced those as well.

I am lucky because both Dave and I were encouraged all our lives to do new things, to cut new paths, to gain knowledge and put it to use, and we did just that.

I am lucky because we get to serve the finest cow in North America.

Some of this luck was of our own creation. But a whole lot of it, probably the majority, came about because we were incredibly fortunate and were simply born to the right people at the right place at the right time.

Yes, I am lucky. So are you.  What is sad is to be born with such fabulous advantages and throw them all away because you refuse to work, refuse to learn, refuse to listen to anyone else, and refuse to progress even slightly, and instead spend your entire precious life looking around for somebody to blame for all your own failings.

Not long after Nathan died, Dave and I went to Washington, DC to a convention of atheists. We, again, were incredibly lucky, because four men were in attendance during that week and they would never get the opportunity to engage personally together again.  Called the “Four Horsemen,” they were Dan Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens.

I am lucky because one night there was a cocktail party which included just a few people and Dave and I were in that bunch, which means that we got to meet those four men and have a bit of a conversation with them.

That’s me with Daniel Dennett, who is a very nice guy as well as a very smart one.

Imagine, if you will, the four people on earth who you admire the most, or maybe the four rock bands you adore, or your most loved ball team, and imagine that you get to go meet them personally.  That’s what this was like for me.

I am lucky because during that convention, Richard Dawkins read a much-loved quote from one of his books. I have a copy of the book, and have worn out the page where that quote appears.  The passage gave me comfort in those awful months right after we lost Nate. When Dawkins got up and began to read, I had to put on my sunglasses so people wouldn’t see me crying.

The quote is on the side bar of this blog, but here it is again, because it’s about being lucky.

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?

Richard Dawkins, from Unweaving the Rainbow


18 thoughts on “Lucky”

  1. Oh, I really like this one, Sally. I think it’s beautiful that you recognize your luck. And yes. Some don’t, do they? It must make for an exhausting life. I’m lucky. I know it. But I also believe that the world doesn’t owe me a goddamn thing, and that I get out of this life what I put into it. I’m not special or precious. I don’t mind working for what I’ve got. Life is good.


  2. I wake up every morning and think to myself how lucky I am. I face each day with joy and wonder. Life is beautiful.

    Maybe that is the difference between being a happy person and a bitter drudge or powerless bully.


  3. Joe’s the primary educator of their children and I have yet to read a comment written by him that was grammatically correct, wasn’t rife with misspelled words and made any sense whatsoever. University of Phoenix is a joke and it shows whenever Joe pounds the keyboard.

    I don’t know about Joe and Nicole, but I certainly do feel lucky.


  4. I teach some ESL students in my college English class, and their English is miles better than Joe’s. I would send him my grammar for dummies workbook, but they’d probably use it for toilet paper.


  5. It’s all about counting your blessings and being thankful for each and every one, no matter how small, not counting other people’s blessings, being bitter about it and proclaiming them to be lucky.

    Sally, your post was so eloquently written and heartfelt and it challenged me to count my own blessings. Thank you for that.


  6. I’m lucky and blessed despite any flaws, hardship or trials I’ve ever had or have now. I am also truly thankful and grateful. I also am very positive in my outlook. I’m happy, content, curious, in awe of the world and universe, hard working and enjoy helping out my fellow humans.

    I seek the goodness in everyone I meet. I also value the things I learn from everyone I meet. I can take criticism, even and especially when I don’t agree with it. I take advice from those who have already walked the path or know something I don’t know or has a better way of doing something. I look for wisdom, knowledge and am always learning. I stand up for myself, my family, friends and those that I don’t know.

    My favorite song is Louis Armstrong “What A Wonderful World”
    I see trees of green, red roses too
    I see them bloom for me and you
    And I think to myself what a wonderful world

    I see skies of blue and clouds of white
    The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
    And I think to myself what a wonderful world

    The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
    Are also on the faces of people going by
    I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
    They’re really saying I love you

    I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
    They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know
    And I think to myself what a wonderful world
    Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world


  7. Wonderful post. I often think of how lucky I have been my entire life Born in the U.S., in the 20th Century, in beautiful northern California, to wonderful loving, responsible, intelligent, caring parent. Strict but fair, that’s my dad. Both my parents led by example. I was lucky to be able to pay my own way through college by working full time during the summer (not really an option for students of today). I was lucky in that I never had an abusive boyfriend, but the example of my parents acted as a shield. Having never heard my parents speak an unkind word to each other, much less have a nasty fight or get physical, I would not stand for anything less myself. I was truly lucky to have a wonderful child, one and done as I said. He’s my pride and joy. I will stop at counting my blessings, as I’ve only named those that loom largest. There are so many more.


  8. It’s easy to focus on what has gone wrong in life. It can pull you down into an inescapable abyss. Life can be tough. But what matters is what you do with that life.

    Joe and Nicole don’t get that. Many of us have burdens but we don’t focus on them. We look at what we have.

    I find it ironic that they call their shitstead Blessed. They don’t focus on their blessings, the focus on negativity.

    I could whine about chronic illness, I could whine about special needs children, I could whine about mental illness, I could whine about not having a great upbringing but I don’t. I work past that shit and enjoy what I’ve been lucky enough to have.

    Sally, I thank you for that. Today I’m sitting here in pain. I wanted to just sit here, I wanted to moan and sleep. Instead I got up and cleaned the house, yes it fucking hurt but I am lucky enough to have a beautiful home and I want to keep it that way. I dragged myself to the museum with my kid because I am lucky enough to be able to provide him an education. He had a class today. And I was lucky to drive my gorgeous cat to the vet. I’ve gone periods of life without a functioning vehicle and now I have several.

    Anyhow thanks for the reminder that life isn’t always perfect but we need to enjoy what we have. I know I have countless things and people to be grateful for.


  9. Thank you Sally, for that beautifully heartfelt, eloquent post that made me stop, reflect and appreciate all the things I have been lucky enough to have been either born into, earned, or achieved.

    Your post also made me think of those poor Naugler children; born into anger, raised on conflict, fed bitterness and educated in all the wrong lessons. If only they had even some of the advantages we have all been fortunate enough to receive.


  10. “I am lucky because we get to serve the finest cow in North America.”

    This made me LOL; I bet Frances would say that she is the luckiest cow in North America because she owns the finest servants in North America. It’s good that you know your place in the pecking order, as she certainly knows her. I have a similar situation.

    I am lucky that the finest yellow Labrador in the world who chose to be adopted by us. I am lucky that after only nine months, she decided that we were acceptable servants and began to actually like us, and decided that having us as her servants was preferable to euthanasia.

    Sometimes she even smiles at us, when we have done something she considers above and beyond in our service to her. I am lucky enough to see her smiles (she really does!), and know that she has deemed us worthy.

    I am lucky enough to love her unconditionally, and have her at my side through all of life’s trials and tribulations, and have her sleep next to my bed every night. I am lucky to be able to be able to provide medical care for her when needed, and provide food for her that she deems adequate.

    I am lucky to experience the love of and for the most perfect dog in the world.❤️


  11. I feel lucky and the past two years have been quite challenging for me personally.

    I’ve met some really interesting people due to the past two seasons of this ongoing American Horror Story starring the Naugler family, so I suppose I should thank Joe and Nicole for deciding to make their story “go viral”. It’s funny, but when this story broke I was initially on their side. For about 10 minutes. Then I started checking them out and the facts led me to where I am today.

    I’m honored to be one of the trolls named on Nicole’s list. Please, judge me by the company I keep.


  12. My granny used to say gratitude and happiness are two dogs that follow each other.

    The idea that achieving happiness will give you something to be grateful for is false. People are seldom happy without the ability to see things to be grateful for….so we must practice, every day, the skill of seeing and being thankful for the smallest things (and the biggest).

    Happiness isn’t a freebie. Like most worthwhile things, it requires a little effort.

    Those who are most skilled at being grateful…become the most skilled at being happy.

    Two other keys to happiness (in my opinion) are flow activities…activities that bring you pleasure that are so absorbing, they give you a break from the stresses of your life and the noise in your head. Simple things that make us relax and engage. Reading, painting, working with a dog, creating trolls, milking a cow, playing guitar, making cheese. Things that make us take ourselves less seriously and just absorb into love and the pleasure of the act.

    And supportive relationships. People who love our ideas, our humor, our communication style. People who “get us” and make us feel loved, appreciated and seen. True reciprocal love. People who are a relief to spend time with, who make us feel recharged and who heal us so we can find more to be grateful for every day. Those relationships. The gold ones.


  13. Joe,

    It seems to me that the only “unlucky” one is Nicole. She, at a young, inexperienced age fell in love with you. Did she know that you had been convicted of assault? Did you tell her about it and give your own spin on it? Or were you up front with her and let her speak to your victims? You fed into her insecurities and into her victimhood feelings with her own mother. You kept her under your thumb. You isolated her. She didn’t have a chance to grow, she was so comsumed with trying to keep you happy. Then you left her. Was she getting to independent and demanding, becoming a nag? Was she asking too much of you, like your mom would do? Like asking you to get a job, help around the house, pay some bills? Was she nagging you about you looking at other women, porn, smoking dope and drinking beer? Was she worried about how to pay the rent, eat or pay back borrowed money yet again?

    You had to move out of state to get away from all the pressures of adulthood and Nicole. You didn’t get your own place. No, you moved in with your brother and mooched off him. Then you somehow were able to sleep with another woman (most likely a girl, somewhat like Nicole, needy and insecure). Most likely you wooed her into making your idea of love on either your brothers couch or at her place, for you didn’t have your own place and couldn’t afford to pay your own way. She comes up pregnant and she begins making demands on you, probably more so than Nicole. You don’t run back to Nicole, Nicole comes running to you. Did you tell her about the other woman, did you tell Nicole, (the insecure mess that you know her to be), that you found another girl to be more sexually, financially attractive to you than she could ever be? Did you have a place of your own and a job when Nicole moved out of state to be with you? Just how did you get her to move out of state away from everyone she ever knew to be with you? What did you tell her? Nicole was a easy mark for you. Instead of doing the secure adult thing, like moving on, getting a education or a job that could support her and teach her something, Nicole moved to you & stayed with you (actually you both stayed at your brothers house) even though you had made a family with another woman. You made a baby. I, as well as others, find it odd that when you mention how many kids you fathered, you never say the exact number of kids you have or the name Alex. Never, not once have you said that you have 12 kids (well maybe now with the stillbirth of poor William you say you have 12). You never say that you have 12 kids and Nicole has 11 kids.
    When Nicole came back to you knowing that she would be moving into your brothers place and not into a place of your own did you give her promises that you will get a job and a home for you both? How many promises did you make her? Were you going back and forth between the Nicole and Alex mother? You, the manipulator, fed line after line of BS to Nicole to keep her in her place. She stayed. You played daddy with Alex when it suited you. You couldn’t pay child support. Hell, you couldn’t keep a roof over your own head, let alone a baby’s head. You fed promise after promise to Nicole. Things will get better you tell her. Things only get worse for Nicole. She has too much pride to ever say she made a mistake and can’t bring herself to go home. No, her luck isn’t lucky. She becomes pregnant. She has to make this work. She has to show the world what a wonderful man you are since you aren’t capable of doing that for yourself. With no education, no life experience, isolated and alone, with only her idea of what pride is, Nicole stays with you. She finds that with her own baby, and being under the same roof with you, she can pull you away from the other woman and your toddler. Nicole, in her immature mind (not entirely her fault that she was so immature, she was young and afraid and had no goals, directions or role models of strong women in her life), finds she can draw your attention to her. She still doesn’t realize that you can’t work. She hangs onto the hope that you will turn into a provider. You don’t. She turns to religions and life style trying to fit in somewhere. Trying to mold you. If you can’t work, because you can’t be told what to do, maybe you can be your own boss. Clean buildings maybe. Only you find you’re being told what to do, how to do it and when to do it. So Nicole continues to search for a place to fit in. Maybe a farmer. If you become your own boss and raise everything yourself then maybe it will work out. It looks like the Amish have it so easy, no one telling them what to do. They are their own support group. Or the Mormons. Look at them. They are really together and very family like in the wards. She thinks surely you will fit in. What Nicole and her bad luck doesn’t see is that the Amish and Mormons have a very strong work ethic. That you must have self discipline to get up early everyday and work hard. She doesn’t see that weed and beer are not a part of the Amish & Mormons. You find that with the Mormons that your patriarchal blessing says you have the power of discernment and you run with it not understanding what that means. You don’t understand that you don’t have that power when you are smoking pot and drinking beer and not pulling your own weight doing what is expected of you. If someone did tell you about the meaning of the blessing and how to have it, you ignored them. Nicole, hung onto that hope that you knew what to do. She clung onto it even when others would quietly question her about your lack of ability to hold a job. This became a burden on her once more. Each new baby that came gave Nicole hope that you would become who you were meant to be. When the landlord would come looking for the rent money it was always Nicole that answered the door. When the electric bill was 90 days past due it was Nicole scrambling to come up with the money. When money was needed for food it was Nicole in front of the Bishop asking for help. You couldn’t be bothered to man up. Pot had a hold on you changing any dream you may have ever had into that, just a dream, something to plan and dream about in your relaxed and contented state, telling whoever will ever will listen how great it all be. Nicole having to face person after person knowing that they are all asking themselves & thinking to themselves, when they aren’t down right asking why isn’t Joe supporting her and why do they keep having kids that they can’t afford, has made Nicole bitter, angry and always on the the defense. Nicole seeing the stares and looks of disapproval directed at you. Nicole always defending you. Nicole is like a single mother to you, defending and enabling you against all odds, not being able to look at the failure you are and blaming herself for it all. And you let her carry it all. You feed her. You mold your so called power of discernment over her head. She lashes out to all others. Surely you can see that in her when you watch the video that Nicole made when she accosted Lisa outside the courtroom, even and especially when Nicole lashes out at a complete stranger demanding who they are. You had to pull her away. For you credit Joe you did look slightly embarrassed and bemused. Nicole is hurt and wounded. Having to live her embarrassing life out in the public would do that to anyone. You, Joe are the cause of all her hurt and embarrassment. No one else. But, it’s okay, you can smoke some weed, spin your tale and make the embarrassment go away and be content. For all your bellyaching about everyone being whores of the state you can’t see you’re mind is being a whore to pot and your own laziness. Just how much money have you donated to others or causes that you believe in this year? Just how many people you didn’t know did you feed or help in some way? How have you helped your own kids to look into the future and prepare for it? Do you show them by your work ethic how to prepare for the coming day, week, season, year, decade? Do they know that preparing for the winter starts in the spring? That preparing for setbacks starts with putting a part of your money aside with each and every dollar? That protecting your good name and credit go hand and hand? That helping in a soup kitchen or somewhere, where others are worst off than themselves gives them a way to put into perspective their own life? Or do you just sit and direct and smoke pot and give ideas off the top of your head with no physical action or attention to detail? Do you take the kids down to the county courthouse and show them the proper procedures for obtaining permits to build porches, sheds, cabins, houses, barns in their future? Do they know how to wire, plumb and safely construct a home or build a working chicken coop? Have you gone out of your way to teach them when you, yourself don’t know how? Or are you just telling them your personal philosophy of life with no solid back up (like look at the success of my life and how it is working)?

    Nicole, (not Sally, Deb, Al, Lisa or anyone of the hundreds of trolls out there), is the unlucky one in all this mess, and even more so and especially all the children you made and never provided for are the real unlucky ones. We are just watching the show that you so readily put out for the world to see.

    Joe, I would really like to hear from you on this. I know I won’t. What I will hear is from Nicole. She will state that you are working. That success isn’t having money, blah, blah. The same old mantra with her. Know this Joe, she is highly embarrassed, defeated and beaten down all because of you and your ideals.


  14. Great post!

    Lucky is probably 20% by chance. And the 80% is what you create. The saying, “you make your own luck”. To a great extent, that is true. Lucky is in the eyes of the beholder.

    Lucky is a feeling too. Feeling lucky!


  15. Oh Sally, I loved reading this post. I, too, am very lucky. I survived polio when many others who got the disease at such a young age as I died. I have a wonderful life with a husband who caters to me and will listen to me and go along with whatever the hell I want to do and who has enough sense to say, wait a minute, that might be a little much. I have healthy kids and grandkids and three bitchy cats who worship me if I scratch them enough and a mean assed male cat who brings me moles every day or so. I have had the privilege of having a sweetest little yippie dog and her baby girl and in spite of the puppy’s ill health, for the six months that she lived on this earth, she provided me with so much happiness and, in turn, I worshipped her and made sure she was as healthy as she could be and as free from pain as she could be. RIP my little Bear. And, I am lucky enough to have had a mother and grandmother and older sister who wanted me to do great things and who were exemplars of strong women with strong work ethics and who were compassionate women. I am also very lucky to have been able to travel around the world, having taught in two Middle Eastern countries, China, New Zealand, Singapore, and Vietnam. I am lucky that retirement came easy and early for us; we were able to pay cash for this old house; we have enough money to live comfortably; and we don’t owe a penny for anything, which is a damn good thing considering our country is being ran by a ranting fool. I guess I am lucky that my hens are laying a shit load of eggs and that eggs are dirt cheap at the store. There you have it…we are so lucky yet the Naugs seem to always be a minute away from losing everything, even the white buckets. Why is that, I wonder. I think Karma is a bitch and no matter how hard the fuckwits try, Karma will find them and bite them on the ass and they will always live in squalor. It’s really too bad they cannot see that they are the makers of their destiny and right now they aren’t making their destiny to damn bright.


  16. Thank you for this thoughtful and thought provoking post. Life is challenging, hard, sometimes crushingly sad. Life is also amazing, wonderful, and new every day. We choose how we face it.


  17. Theskyisfalling,
    You hit the nail on the head. Nicole is unlucky. Her kids more, unfortunately she will never see it she can’t it would destroy her. Really sad but I can’t feel sorry for her she has allowed it to happen and now she’s stuck with the consequences.
    I also have been extremely blessed and yes I am guilty to some degree of taking it all for granted. I think we all do that to some degree.


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