How I Failed American History and Became the Luckiest Guy in Oklahoma

My first F couldn’t have come at a worse time. I don’t know if there’s ever a good time to fail a college course, but this one felt especially inopportune.

On scholarship at a private Christian college, one condition of my financial aid was, of course, grade point average. Without the scholarship, attending the university was not a fiscal possibility.


Amboo213 (CC)





I’ll spare the details for another post, probably titled, Why I Suck at Forgiveness, but I will say this. I earned the failing grade. I did. I earned it. Nevertheless, I do believe my situation merited some mercy.

But the point here isn’t why I failed the class, but what happened as a result. My life turned upside down. I despaired.

I don’t fail courses. I ace them.

But I did fail.

What to Do with Your Weaknesses

I collected baseball cards when I was a kid.

For Christmas Granny and Papa often bought me a complete set of Topps or Upper Deck or Fleer cards. I knew before unwrapping it what the present was because of its oblong shape. (It was either that or a decanter of liquor.)

Being the weirdo that I am, I never opened the boxes. I knew they had more value in mint condition than if I got them out and played with them.


Matthew Paulson (CC)


So rather than mess them up, I bought a Beckett pricing guide so I could see how much individual cards in those boxes were worth.

One year I received a Topps 1992 complete box set. Checking the guide, I noticed a card from a couple of years before with a ridiculously high price tag and an exclamation mark after it.

Where's God When You Suffer?

Upon debate Katie and I decided to take our not yet one-year-old to the emergency room; Abram labored more and more with each breath. We had even administered two breathing treatments to him earlier in the day, but they weren’t enough. He needed more help.

Allan Foster (CC)




Furthermore, he refused to eat or drink, and the resultant dehydration compounded the problems. In retrospect, Abram’s pediatrician theorized that even though the x-ray that night showed negative for pneumonia, it was probably a false negative; the lack of fluids masked the condition.