The anxiety of the threes

So, bad things come in threes, right? Well, no, we don’t believe that. This discussion came up after the recent death of Michale Jackson. A rumor of the death of another celebrity came along (that rumor was incorrect) and this somehow sparked a discussion of there “needing to be” a third death to fulfill the prophecy of the three … because Farah Fawcett had died, then Michale Jackson, and then ….. OMG!! Who was going to be next!!!

Then, of course, it was pointed out that David Caridine had died earlier. Or was it Ed McMahon. Or someone else. And the whole thing got kind of silly. People started discussing which celebrities should be counted in “the three.” And people started noticing that the total number of celebrities that had died in the previous few weeks was rather large. Eventually, the question was well addressed here on Quiche Moraine.

Well, the other day, something bad happened to someone I know. I won’t go into details or give names, and this is not funny so don’t laugh.

OK, so this person I know bought a new car with the Cash for Clunkers program. Within hours after owing the new car, she found herself on a construction site and while there backed into a front loader bucket that had been carelessly left on the ground, down low where you could not possibly see it, right in the middle of the road. First day, first dent.

A couple of days later, she had gone off to meet someone, and while on the way to the meeting place, accidentally ran into the person she was meeting. (Don’t laugh!) The person was in a car, it was at an intersection, it was complicated. One of those things that make you really understand why No Fault insurance makes sense. First week, two dents, one in front and one in back.

How could things be worse?

Well, that would be the subsequent Friday (don’t laugh!), when she was on her way out state for a family gathering. Driving on the highway at speed, and some truck throws up a stone and pings her windshield.

By this time, what started out as grief for the damage to the new car became more of a hopeless laughter … something between a nervous chortle and a cynical guffaw. A kind of chortfaw. Anyway, it wasn’t pretty, but at least it wasn’t uncontrolled crying or screaming or anything non-Minnesotan like that.

So later that same day, sitting around with family, a relative comforted the young woman like this:

“Well, at least it’s over!”

“What do you mean, ‘over’?”

“Bad things come in threes. The wind shield crack is the third thing. You’re outta the woods for now.”

“Oh, yeah … (a bit more nervous chortfaw) … Good. I can relax now.”

Everyone else nodded in assent. It was over. Things come in threes.

The person who did the comforting is a professional skeptic. I asked her later on “You don’t believe that, right?”

“No, of course not, but I wanted to help her feel better.”

OK, whatever.

So, a few minutes ago the news just came through.

Another stone thrown up by a truck. The windshield now has two cracks.

What are the chances of that happening?

Comments

  1. #1 Stephanie Z
    August 23, 2009

    And now your friend is trembling with anxiety again, waiting for another two bad things to happen. Very comforting.

  2. #2 mark
    August 23, 2009

    Better the windshield has two cracks, than the new windshield has a crack. I know; I’m on windshield number 4!

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    August 23, 2009

    No, no, no one was supposed to notice that!

    Actually, there was a third window strike in the family the same week. This means that there is one more bumper dent to come.

  4. #4 Bruce W
    August 23, 2009

    Don’t worry…if my timing is right, this will be the fourth comment, which will negate the evil trinity. You have nothing more to worry about…uh, wait a second…what are those four horsemen doing in front of the house?

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    August 23, 2009

    You mean “The Three Horsemen of the Apocalypse … And One Ugly One?”

  6. #6 MadScientist
    August 23, 2009

    I think the lesson is avoid construction sites – they’re great places to slash and puncture tires, scratch the paint, and crack the windscreen. There’s not much to do about rocks but stay far behind the truck and hope the rocks don’t bounce too well; they still tend to scratch the paint though. Then again if the truck is coming the opposite direction you’re screwed; there’s no avoiding the rocks.

  7. #7 Watt de Fawke
    August 23, 2009

    Maybe the stone strikes are a pair, so together they make the third bad thing?

    Or maybe numerology in all its forms is batshit crazy.

  8. #8 steve
    August 23, 2009

    Sky Saxon (of the Seeds) died the day before Michael / Farrah. All he gets is a mention of being the “Darby Crash” of the “actual three” celebs that died. I agree that the “rule of 3s” is dumb.

  9. #9 Natasha
    August 23, 2009

    Maybe she should stop tailgating trucks?

    I agree with Stephanie, offering bits of nonsense you don’t believe is not a good way to comfort friends. And the fourth thing happening proves that point.

  10. #10 Dave X
    August 24, 2009

    Relaxing while driving might not be a good idea for your friend. What were the last three things that happend to her old clunker?

    Maybe she should take the bus.

  11. #11 jj
    August 24, 2009

    FYI -Ed McMahon died prior to MJ and Farrah, I remember this because I was in a bar the day he died (or a few days later, can;t remember, it was a bar), and an old pal of mine and I were discussing, and he said “So who are the next two?” Next day, BAM, Farrah then MJ. Found that to be odd, or more accurately, coincidental.

  12. #12 RBH
    August 25, 2009

    I was a volunteer firefighter for decades, and we had a saying that fires come in threes. But that, of course, is due to the fact that three is all the higher firefighters can count. :)

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