Coffee In the Lap

This is not like the story of the woman who got almost 3 million dollars from McDonalds for spilling coffee on herself. I wish I got that kind of loot for this one. I just believe that life is interesting. Life gives you tests to see if you are keeping things in perspective.

What I mean by this is, the same thing can happen to two different people and they will react completely differently. Something bad can happen and one person sees it as a blessing and the other as a curse. It all depends on how you look at it. I believe life wanted to give me a test recently.

I had a humbling experience that helped give me some perspective that I think you can relate with. I was walking out of my company’s corporate office in downtown Salt Lake City recently. I was with my business partners working on some big things for our teams and company; we had a good day of calls and meetings. It was overall a great day.

It was a cold January day as I was walking out to leave around 4pm. I was looking good wearing my black jacket, nice jeans, and new redwing boots. I was carrying my briefcase and a half full Venti Chai Tea from Starbucks I got about a half hour ago. I admired myself in the window of my car as I was about to get in. I was thinking, “wow this is great, I look like a professional business man”. (This is coming from the guy who has spent the last ten years as a nurse in scrubs at the hospital.)

I always liked the idea of being a professional businessman. I thought, “I could get used to this, and I look good”. As I opened the door, I moved in swift professional motion to sit down and swing my briefcase inside the car at the same time. As I did this, I caught my Chai lid on the top of the car door and flip the cup upside down into my lap. I finished the other half of my drink by dumping it all over my jacket and jeans. Luckily it wasn’t still hot or this wouldn’t have been as funny as it is now.

I jumped out of the car with a loud “MOTHER F!@#$”. I’m not proud of that, but it was hard to control my reaction at the time. I try not to talk that way, but I am a passionate guy from the east coast, which comes standard with an extensive vocabulary of profanity.

I shook off what I could from my jacket and I could feel the rest soaking into my shorts. As I sat down in my car I took a moment and a deep breath. I thought, “wow you were just on top of the world, but you are still a dork”. I began to laugh it off and realize that if that was the worst thing to happen today then it was a great day. I just wish someone was there to laugh with me.


Life tends to do that. I know everyone reading this probably has a coffee in the lap story they remember. Life can give you a flick, slap, or even a nice punch in the face from time to time. I believe that life gives these tests to see what you are made of.

This incident could have ruined my day. It didn’t because of my choice to laugh about it. Some people don’t realize that they don’t have to be a victim of the circumstances around them. You can’t control everything, but you are in control of two things in this life.

You are 100% in control of your attitude and your actions. Remember that, and no one can take that away from you. You can choose how things affect you. Try looking at some things in your life with a different perspective. Ask yourself things like, “Will I still be upset about this a year from now?” or “what can I find funny about this?”

I hope the next time something bad happens you think about this story. It might not be as bad as it seems. Don’t take yourself so seriously and remember to laugh when you make mistakes. Most of all, be careful with that coffee!


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