The trickster is one of the classic Jungian archetypes. Smeagol in Lord of the Rings qualifies. So did Jim Carey in The Mask. We’ve posted a couple of trickster synchronicities in the past, but this one, which comes from Mike Clelland, is a laugh out loud story.
Mike lives in Idaho…well, let him explain it.
“I spend a lot of time outside and get this irritated red face thing, and certain sun-blocks make it worse. Yes, life can be cruel. Alas, I am always on the search for a sun-block that does NOT effect my sensitive skin. During a recent outing with some folks I work with at an outdoor school, more than one of my comrades praised Neutrogena SPF-45. Hmmmm, maybe this would be the stuff that would finally end my search?
“So, when I returned to my little home town, I went to the locally owned Health Food Store in the hopes of finding a bottle of Neutrogena-45. Alas, nothing. And not at the locally owned little drug store either. I left the main street, and began my drive home. I planned to see if the giant grocery store built on the edge of town (Broulims) had this stuff. I slowed down as I approached the turn, but I found that I couldn’t quite turn the steering wheel, I simply couldn’t. The grim strip-mall of creepiness just seemed to repel me. So I continued home.
“When I was driving, I saw big bulging bags of trash set along the roadside. This was the annual spring road side trash clean up. Each year an organized group of volunteers will pick up trash along the high way after the snow melts. I live right on the highway, and I always try and help out on these days. So, when I got home, I grabbed a few big plastic trash bag and went out along the road side. It’s actually pretty distressing to really see (and touch) a winters worth of trash along the road. Lots of cheap beer cans and cigarette butts. I had some time, so I figured I would just walk along the road collecting trash all the way to the stop sign on the next corner North, about a half a mile away.
“There was a stop sign on this corner, this would be my target.
“This way, I would scour all the trash on this side, cross the road, and do the half mile back to my cabin. That’s a full mile of trash pick up, and that seemed pretty decent.
“As soon as I began, it started raining. And then the rain turned to snow. It was that crappy April kind of snow too, wet and cold. But I persevered, mostly because I was already soaked, and it felt like I was doing a nice thing. I thought about turning back but I just kept heading towards the stop sign.
“There was something nice about this moment, I could feel the results in the weight of the big plastic bag and it seemed easy enough to keep walking.
“And, when I got to my turn around point, that stop sign – literally at the base of the pole – I found a full bottle of Neutrogena SPF-45.
“I was, at the time, 44 years old. The product was noted 45. It was waiting for me – quite literally – at a sign post. It was a STOP sign.I can’t help to marvel at the altruistic angle in this story. It felt like the universe was rewarding me for a simple little good deed.”
Here’s the trickster part.
“The story isn’t perfect. That bottle had been there for a while, potentially all winter. The contents had separated into this runny yellow oil, and gummy white glop. It was kinda gross, and completely useless as sun-block. A mystical lesson in cosmic duality?”
Mike notes that he later got a new bottle and it doesn’t irritate his skin.