When Tommy said, looking at the Roberson family van stuck in the muddy roadside, “Well it sure couldn’t get much worse,” he certainly wasn’t advocating misfortune. If anything the opposite. But a distinct downturn in luck has almost inevitably followed the utterance of that sentence since its inception.
The tires doing nothing but spinning when urged to move was certainly bad enough. Add that to the fact that the Robersons were already running late on their cross-state trip to the cartoon museum, and this was quite the pickle. There was certainly hope that they would still make it in time to see the exhibit about the world’s most popular mouse as Nathan joked that being oldest meant Chris and Zachary had the honor of pushing.
Fewer jokes were made when it started raining. It seemed this stretch of the country was prone to unannounced deluges, and the boys’ parents urged them to join their sister inside. But they certainly made the most of what they continued to assure each other would only last a few more minutes by playing some car games.
The rain stopped, which was great news. The car also stopped almost simultaneously, which was less great news. The gas ran out. A debate that will live in family history for generations proceeded, in which Nathan, Amy, and Chris argued that it would be quicker to walk to the next town than it would be to wait for roadside assistance, as Dad, Zachary, and Tommy thought best. Mom refused to cast the deciding vote, so they ultimately did both. Whether the tow truck arrived at the same time as or just before the boys walked back with the gas can is still a hotly-contested point.
Some semiserious discussion of a curse was introduced when the tow truck also became entrenched in the mud. A second tow truck had to be called, which was able to haul both vehicles, seven family members, and two truck drivers into town. The museum closed twelve minutes before the Robersons arrived. Dad reassured them simply: “They’ll be open again in the morning. The world won’t end tonight.” He should have known better than to tempt things.