Ace and the Improbable

Yesterday my husband and I took our dog Jack to the vet. (Jack’s okay, just a case of trashcan-itis, as the doc put it. Nothing some antibiotics won’t cure.) While we were waiting for a test result, we took Jack and our other dog, Ace, for a walk. Just a quick one to pass the time and occupy the dogs. We were strolling down the sidewalk, admiring some of the older homes and their yards, when Ace abruptly stopped and squatted on someone’s lawn. Of course we didn’t have any bags for the business on us, and we’d walked about five minutes away from the vet’s office. I handed my husband the leash I was holding and said, “Wait here, I’ll run there and be right back!” I had only made it a couple sidewalk squares away when something registered in my awareness. I stopped and looked back and there, hanging from a tree branch two feet above my husband, was a plastic grocery bag. I kid you not.

My husband didn’t understand why I was dilly-dallying.

“There’s a bag!” I said.


“In the tree!”

And he looked at me like I’d really lost it this time. But then he looked up and sure enough: a white bag rustling in the breeze.

“No way!” he said. (Actually, I think he said “No bleep,” and I pointed at Ace’s business on the ground and said, “Yes bleep,” and then he unhooked the bag from its branch.)

It’s funny how things like this can happen in real life, but if I tried to work something like that into a fictional story chances are it wouldn’t fly. Sure, it’s always possible if the material was handled right it could work, but I think the feedback I’d most likely get would be along the lines of: “They’re in desperate need of a plastic bag and then one just happens to appear in a tree? That they are standing right next to? Way too convenient and improbable.” I suppose this is why we have the saying “the truth is stranger than fiction”.

And speaking of Ace and the improbable, today Ace has finally achieved something he’s been striving to do for years. He’s a role model in perseverance this guy:

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