My father used to tell the story of a man flying an 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?
I’ve heard tales told with the fortunately-unfortunately twist, but never knew it was an “official” game. I like how you tied it into to writing – yes, it very much is like the what-if’s we ask as our stories unfold.