As the song goes, if Virginia Robicheaux, a former correspondent for the Salt Lake Tribune, didn't have bad luck, she'd have no luck at all.

In the past couple of weeks, she has lost her job, been told she needs heart surgery, had some weekly newspapers in her native Louisiana reject plans for her to be a columnist, lost her purse, missed one scheduled flight back to Washington and then had the replacement flight almost crash land when its tires blew."Maybe I should have just stayed in bed," she said Thursday, as she was home recuperating from being thrown about during that last landing.

Her string of bad luck began when the Tribune decided because of tight financial times to close down its Washington bureau - which forced her into early retirement about two years earlier than she had planned.

Shortly afterward, she received results from a physical. "I was told my heart was enlarged and I need bypass surgery," she said.

But she didn't cancel plans to fly to Louisiana for the 85th birthday of her father. While there, she talked to a few weekly newspapers about her longtime dream to write a weekly column for them. "I found out that weeklies are on hard times just like dailies," she said.

She had to drive to Dallas to catch her return flight. Bad luck was to return when she stopped in Canton, Texas, at a Dairy Queen for lunch. She left her purse, and didn't realize it for hours. With time lost to drive back and retrieve it, she missed her flight in Dallas.

She got on another flight later - which itself was delayed for mechanical problems. Then when it approached Washington, "it came in head first. We hit hard and the tires blew."

She said the plane rocked wildly, and passengers had to slide down emergency chutes. She doesn't think the plane's bumping did the new fax machine she had just bought any good, either.

Robicheaux said she decided to spent the past couple of days at home after her adventures, and because she is sore from that last landing. "It's been an interesting two weeks," she said.