My father used to tell the story of a man flying an airplane.

small twin engine airplane

Unfortunately, the engine went out.

Fortunately, there were two engines – unfortunately, the second engine went out.

Fortunately, the man had a parachute – unfortunately, it didn’t work.

Fortunately, there was a haystack in the field below – unfortunately, there was a needle in the haystack.

Fortunately, the man missed the needle – unfortunately, he missed the haystack.


 All the rain we’ve had this week made me think of my own fortunately-unfortunately story.

Fortunately, the rain means that I don’t have to fill the chicken waterers – unfortunately, it means the chicken yard is a muddy mess.

Fortunately, the rain will bring more flowers for bees to make more honey – unfortunately, my feet get wet and cold.

Fortunately, the roof of my classroom does not leak – unfortunately, my classroom is a portable building, which means walking through the rain to the bathroom.

Fortunately  the rain stopped today and it was a beautiful sunny day – unfortunately the rain is supposed to start again tomorrow.

 And that brings me back to the beginning again–Fortunately the rain means I won’t have to fill chicken waterers…

Life  on an urban farm is like that–a vicious cycle of fortunatelys and unfortunatelys.

CW Sara’s email had me wondering about  fortunately-unfortunately cycles. So I Googled the term.

According to Wikipedia, Fortunately-Unfortunately is an actual word game first played at conventions of the National Puzzlers’ League.  Click here to read more.

Writers play a similar game. We call it brainstorming. Instead of fortunately-unfortunately, we say What If?

Your turn: Have you ever played Fortunately-Unfortunately?