It's been a bad-hair week - one of those stretches where everything you touch turns to pyrite. You go to the bakery for a blueberry muffin and it has two berries - small ones. A nice dent appears in the new car. You've just bought a trampoline, now doctors say it's sure to kill or cripple you and lead to lawsuits from the neighbors. Other woes pile high enough to make the Jazz look like lottery winners.
While you're absorbed in self-pity, the only viable options are to cuss or cry. Silver linings are all on back order. In the midst of wallowing, a thought occurs that provides potential relief for this potpourri of troubles: Misery loves company. Perhaps it has been a rotten week elsewhere. Maybe we can blame it on El Nino, biorhythms, planets out of alignment, fallout from Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests.After thorough investigation, the evidence is overwhelming: Things are tough all over - just ask Jerry Sloan and Karl Malone. It was "one of those weeks" worldwide. So if life's got you down and is kicking you to boot, consider the plight of countless others who may have been dealt a worse fate.
- Russian women. In the world of lonely hearts, Tatyana Denoshova is too typical. "It's difficult to meet a real man here. Good men are already married, and if they are not married, they are no good." She and thousands of other Russian women have turned to catalog-, video- and Internet-based matchmaking services seeking husbands - preferably American or European men who will take them away from the dead end of today's Russia - with little success.
- World Cup fans and French police. As if strikes by Air France pilots and other French transportation workers were not annoyance enough, a fantasy pageant to open the World Cup descended into a drunken brawl that left 34 officers injured, one critically. Fifteen fans were arrested.
- Viagra users. Reports of deaths among men who took the pill have climbed to 16. Doctors say they're cautioning patients about the risks, but some men just don't care. "I've had a lot of patients say, `If I have to go, that's the way I want to go out,' " said Dr. Ira Sharlip of San Francisco.
- Faithful British Rolling Stones fans. Mick Jagger and Co. canceled their four-show British tour because of a new tax law they claimed would cost them 12 million pounds ($19.6 million). Upset Stones fans can't get no satisfaction.
- Textbook publishers. The onrush of technology will make school books obsolete in a few years, according to House Speaker Newt Gingrich. He says they should be replaced by personal computers within five years. Tough news for Prentice-Hall.
- Working women. Full-time working women earn 76 cents for every dollar earned by men. That discrepancy does not compare equal job against job, however, but is indicative women tend to be concentrated in society's lowest-paying positions.
- Utah students. While it may be good for them - like eating broccoli - secondary students in the Beehive State could spend an extra hour in class if a preliminary proposal by State Superintendent for Public Instruction Scott Bean becomes reality. Ask any kid if that news makes his or her day.
- Naughty politicians. A searing indictment of immoral conduct in political high places was approved by the Southern Baptist Convention on Wednesday. After debating whether to directly censure President Clinton, the group opted not to name names.
- Movie Buffs trial jurors. These folks were compelled to view 17 hours of obscene movies confiscated from Utah County Movie Buffs stores in 1996. The case presents a dilemma: Prosecutors want people representative of community standards on the jury, who abhor watching such filth; the alternative is a jury of folks who have no problem viewing the wretched stuff - but not likely to convict their own.
- Farmers and gardeners. The unseasonably wet weather is great for lawns but overkill for those who make a living off the land. "It's driving us crazy. We can't get anything to grow," explained Becky Pettingill of Pettingill's Fruit Farms in Box Elder County. Is anyone's neighbor building an unusually large ship?
- Paul McCartney. Speaking of British rock groups, a grieving McCartney last week paid tribute to his late wife, Linda, who died in April. He told 700 guests that he still cannot believe his wife of nearly 30 years is dead, "but I have to because it's true."
- Monica Lewinsky. Her new legal team is outraged over a glamorous photo spread of the former White House intern in next month's Vanity Fair. Her recently dismissed lawyer, William Ginsburg, said he thought the photo session would help his client. Huh? How much does he make per hour?
- Ronald Reagan. Because of his Alz-heim-er's disease, the only person the former president can consistently recognize is his wife, Nancy.
- Bill Clinton. Speaking of naughty politicos, a 1992 memo telling Clinton international banker James Riady had "flown all the way from Indonesia" to make a six-figure donation and take a car ride with the Democratic presidential nominee provides investigators fresh evidence of a foreign money trail. Caught red-handed but still not red-faced, the president presses forward.
We could go on and on - Albanians in Kosovo, students attacked in Uganda, unrest in Nigeria and Indonesia. Suddenly, things here don't look so bad - even for despondent Jazz fans. So cheer up, some weeks are like that even for millionaire athletes, past and present presidents and rock stars.
It would have hurt, however, to know the guy getting the last laugh was Dennis "Rodzilla" Rodman. But then the Jazz pull out game five, and the sun breaks through the clouds. Maybe life is fair, after all.