Saturday, December 30, 2006

Who, Meme?

Thanks to James Burnett, famous columnist for the Miami Herald and blogger extraordinaire, I have been tagged to list five items to answer the following question: "What things about yourself do you worry about too much, where other folks' opinions of you are concerned?"

So basically, James, you're asking what about myself I am most embarrassed, aren't you? If so, first I've got to thank you for putting me through this self-examination, because nothing is more pleasant at this time of year, (end of year resolution gathering,) than a good dose of critical thinking.

That said, I decided to provide my list, along with my immediate excuse as to why everybody is wrong if they actually think these things of me about which I worry.

  1. I'm not antisocial, I just respect people's privacy.
  2. I'm not too self-absorbed, I'm just not easily distracted.
  3. I'm not lazy, I'm just efficient.
  4. I'm not immature, I'm just too old for my lifestyle.
  5. I'm not controlling, I prefer to think of myself as "actively engaged."

So there you have it. The top five things apparently on which I need to work during 2007. Wish me luck! (Not that I worry you will think less of me if I don't.)

The Sarcasticynic

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Last to be picked

When I was in school, my best friend and I always knew who would be chosen last for team membership in gym class. Without fail, he was second to last to be picked, and I was last. We were at the bottom of the list of students expected to do well on the field, and never got to play on the same team.

Actually, I need to provide a correction to a statement above. My friend was the last to be chosen. After a team captain called out his name, and I was the last kid standing, the two teams just turned around and headed out to the field. After all, it was assumed I was on the other team, right? They didn't even give me the dignity of calling my name.

Many times I was tempted to just return to the locker room.

"Hey! Where're you going?" the Gym Teacher would've called.

"To the lockers."

"Get back onto the field and join your team," he'd've shouted.

"I have no team. Nobody picked me."

That's what I imagined would have happened. Instead, I trailed my "team" onto the field and tried my best.

I never forgot that.

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Take a look at the photo. This is how our paper arrived one morning. Somehow, the front page and the first few pages after that had about a quarter of each page torn away, for whatever reason, and were nowhere to be found. Personally, that didn't bother me much. Accidents happen, and I doubted my life would be significantly altered by the lack of a couple square feet of missing info from that morning's edition.

What I did find amusing, of course, was the headline that was affected by the accidental shredding of my morning paper. I later learned from visiting the online version of our paper that that headline was supposed to say, "Tornado tears apart 3 families." Instead, the paper itself was torn. Some coincidence, I thought to myself.

Then I thought about coincidences in general, as well as specific coincidences that have happened, or could happen.

The first time I remember noticing and thinking about coincidences happened when I was a teen. I was walking through a department store with my mother, and as we went up the escalator, I saw our neighbor on her way down. Mom was occupied with her purse or something, and the neighbor was equally distracted, so she didn't see us. As we were about to cross paths, it occurred to me I should say something. But the thought of my mother engaged in a lengthy conversation with this person whom I felt already spends WAAY too much time chatting with my mother didn't sit too well with my personal teenager schedule, so I kind of ducked my head as teens are so skilled at doing. She never saw us.

I glanced over my shoulder as the neighbor continued down the escalator, and back at my mom who was completely oblivious to the "coincidence." I thought, Wow! That is so cool! We were all together for a brief moment in time, yet if I were distracted myself, (such as if there had been a teenaged girl either in front of or behind our neighbor,) the coincidence may never have been discovered.

Which got me thinking about the things that have to happen to make up what we call a coincidence. Of course, two or more events have to happen at the same time or close together. But another thing is that someone has to recognize the connection between the events, after which they may or may not report it.

By definition, a coincidence needs neither a witness nor a reporter, but unless such support exists, nobody knows there has been a coincidence. Coincidences happen all the time. Your boss's niece may have dated your sister-in-law's neighbor's cousin. Your maid of honor may be related to your co-worker's family doctor. Your social security number might be the next winning lottery combination. Well, OK, except for the last one, these coincidences may be "available," but until the evidence somehow comes out, and someone notices it, and knows enough about the circumstances to recognize a pattern, the coincidences "don't really exist" for any practical purposes.

Anyway, here are a couple more coincidences that happened to me, as well as a freaky one that I thought up.

1) I learned through my mother's conversation with her cousin that her cousin's daughter lives in the same town as me. Both of us live many states away from where we grew up. Further research yielded that within this town of over 30,000, her relative lives within walking distance of me.

2) Recently I contacted my childhood friend I hadn't seen in decades through his 80 year old mother, who still lives in the same house as where he grew up. She put me in contact with him. Turns out he was visiting my town at the time, several states away, and we got the chance to meet again - first time since we were 12 years old. We then found out that we both worked for the same company, and he lived on the same street, walking distance in fact, from a former manager of mine.

These coincidences were in place for quite some time, years in certain cases, but until someone comes in and puts two and two together, they simply remain undiscovered.

Here's a freaky coincidence that could happen. In fact, something like this may occur many times in some form or another. A man is in his garage working with power tools. There's a lightning storm outside. He thinks to himself, I should unplug this appliance and go in the house. While standing in a puddle of water that has seeped under the garage door from the storm, and just as he is about to reach up to grasp the power cord, which happens to have exposed wires, a bolt of lightning wipes out the power in his neighborhood. He pulls out the cord in the dark and goes inside. Had that lightning not killed the power, that exposed cord would still have been live, and he might have gotten electrocuted. A coincidence? You'd better believe it. Anyone notice? Probably not.

Divine Intervention? That's a topic for another discussion.

Got any amazing coincidences you'd like to share? Respond in the comment section if you do.