We have a whiner!

I am a klutzy, unlucky victim who thrives on sympathy and the sound of my own voice.

Mat Koehler

Almost every week is one of those weeks for me. Iím not depressed ó itís just that I only focus on the bad things. OK, so maybe I think like a depressed person, but Iím not nearly as big of a downer.

I am, however, a bit of a whiner (or ìventer,î as I like to call it). Every day, I regale my friends with the trivial tragedies of my life. My complaints echo the nit-picking neurotics of Larry David, but Iíd like to think they are more worthy of being shared between friends (and less worthy of having a hilarious television series). My grievances go above and beyond typical ranting, and the issues I address are not always matters of being inconvenienced (though my columns would lead you to believe otherwise). I am a klutzy, unlucky victim who thrives on sympathy, not an easily annoyed grouch who loves the sound of his own voice. Get it right.

I am completely serious when I say that I injure and embarrass myself many times a week. On Thursday I slipped while crossing the street and crushed my kneecap. A passing motorist honked and pointed at me, and I was unable to get up right away Ö I had to crawl to the sidewalk. How could you not relate that kind of thing? Isnít that horrible?

I guess whining is therapeutic. I donít know how else I would deal with Ö well, for example, this past weekend.

A month ago, I had planned to visit some of my music buddies in Milwaukee and sit in on guitar at a gig they had. I didnít know then that Iíd be so insanely busy this early in the semester, nor had I envisioned the largest snowstorm of the year escorting my car to southeast Wisconsin. Everyone was telling me to play it safe and stay in town, but my band friends insisted this would be my last opportunity to jam and hang out with them. The guilt caused me to suck up my qualms and drive the 400 miles.

I only made it to Eau Claire, Wis., before Thursday nightís blizzard forced me to spend the night there, yet I woke up ridiculously early the next morning so I could make it to Milwaukee by 10 a.m. ó which was when we were supposed to practice.

As it turns out, practice didnít begin until noon, which is when my bandmates finally answered their phones and apologized for the late start. Then they told me our gig would last only 25 minutes, and that it was in a hard rock/metal bar in a small town. Whatís more, they said they didnít have car access so Iíd have to serve as a chauffeur all weekend long. As you might already know, I hate driving (more specifically, I hate all other drivers). I had to haul people and gear around for longer than I slept during the three days. Oh, and Sunday, I realized I had spent more than $350 on gas, food and traffic tickets.

To top it off, I slipped on the ice again when I got back home and re-injured my kneecap. Without that last stab at my sanity, my week would not have been normal.

Mat Koehler welcomes comments at [email protected]