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Do you ever sit and wonder “What if?” What treasures lay unearthed on the road not taken? How many opportunities did I pass over, which would have changed my life for the better?

Maybe I’ve just been reading too many subject lines of the emails that end up in my spam folder, but maybe, just maybe, there was a diamond in the rough that got filtered out by accident. Don’t judge a book by its cover, they say, while auto-deleting 1,308 emails with the subject, “A Life-Changing Opportunity.”

What if Harry Potter hadn’t opened any of the thousands of magical letters that exploded into 4 Privet Drive? Would the wizarding world be a dark universe run by Slytherins and Death Eaters? (By the way, I know Harry’s body was protected by a spell, but if he was living at a public address, why didn’t Voldemort radicalize him before Dumbledorewith the tenacity of a father-in-law emailing FWD: fwd: RE: INTERESTING FACTS.)

Did the Google algorithms finally get it right? Had eBay found the item I didn’t know I’ve always been looking for? Or did my bank find an actual interest rate that could accelerate my retirement age by ten years? I think those would be worth a little wild goose chasing here and there.

What happened to my sense of adventure and optimism?

As a kid, my mom would give me a dollar and let my brother and me walk down to the convenience store to buy candy. What should have been a 20-minute trip, usually ended up taking 30 because we’d check all the discarded scratch offs for a potential winner. It would have been more profitable to ask the scratchers for their penny.

I used to be the guy who ordered well tequila and frequented the Cici’s Pizza buffet enough to show up with a plan. Maybe I need a Nicolas Cage back-of-the-Declaration-of-Independence-level scavenger hunt, even if it leads nowhere.

Which begs the question: should I be opening my spam?

If even one “Life-Changing Opportunity” were actually that, wouldn’t it be worth reading through hundreds of bad ideas and mal intended links for boner pill placebos? I wouldn’t say that these are the worries that keep me up at night, but the fear does occasionally wash over me right before I click “Delete All Spam Messages Now.”

Josh Bard

Josh Bard is a guy. A sports guy, an ideas guy, a wise guy, a funny guy, a Boston guy, and sometimes THAT guy. Never been a Guy Fieri guy, though.

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