Fate, Destiny, or Coincidence?

July 14, 2012 at 12:47 am (writing) (, , , , , , )

When I look back at my life, I have to wonder what made me turn out the way I am… weird and creative with a flair for numbers. You could say that it’s in my blood; I have some pretty impressive ancestors and I suppose that’s where nature would apply. This painting here is a work of art from the hands and visionary thinking of my great-great-great-grandfather. My grand-mother was a fabulous story-teller; as a child I would beg for her bedtime stories. She also loved numbers, solving the Rubic’s cube mathematically, with only a high school education. My grandfather was a talented wood sculptor and painter. My mother paints striking pictures and my father has oodles of musical skill as well as being a pretty good artist – nurture might also apply here as well, growing up with their influence. But I’m not just talking nature versus nurture. My own story is a little more interesting than that.

I chose this topic because today is Friday the 13th, and if I were superstitious, I would have considered myself doomed from the start, being born on that day of the week/month in August of 1971. I was 9 days late, and the nurses teased my mother because of the day. We also talk often about the strange time/date of my daughter’s birth, since she was born 9 hours and 9 minutes late, at 9:09 am on the 9th day of September, the 9th month. Just in time, I might add for me to be watching horrific scenes on the TVs we passed on the way out of the hospital two days later, September 11, 2001. Is all of this just freaky coincidence, or perhaps a cosmic joke? I often wonder if the author of my story threw in these things as symbolism, trying to communicate with me directly, like Vonnegut did with the characters in his books, or the novelist did with her protagonist in “Stranger than Fiction”.

To make matters worse, I seemed jinxed growing up, barely surviving a series of calamities that ranged from being hit by a car (I should be dead, or crippled, or brain damaged, but I’m not,) to falling down stairs on multiple occasions, to even getting stuck in a clay-based quicksand (okay, maybe more of a slow-sand…I was waist deep when I was rescued). I somehow made it to adulthood, mostly in one piece, which makes me wonder if all this was just part of my fate, to make sure I lived an exhaustingly interesting life. It definitely makes for more interesting stories.

I was also a weirdness magnet, and still am one today (ask my friends, family and co-workers – it’s true.) If something strange is going to happen to someone in my inner circles, and strange things do happen on a regular occasion, it’s going to happen to me. For example, the first call I received as a phone customer service rep, fresh off of training, was from a man stoned out of his gourd and barely coherent, and I actually dealt with a client once whose file was complicated by the fact that he had run off and joined a circus in his earlier years. I could tell you a million more like this – more than this blog posting could support. They are all the type of trials in life where you smack your forehead and lament “Why me?”

Add to that the fact that many events point to the notion that I have “karmic luck” – a term I coined in my short story “Weighing Fate,” where for every good luck occurrence, I seem to experience an equivalent bad luck one, and vise versa. It indubitably seems like there may be some truth to the Friday the 13th superstition. For example, my first foot in the door towards a real job came because I had slipped and split my knee open (in front of a church where a few days before I had given a bus ticket to an elderly woman who had lost her bus fare, even though I was really hurting for money at the time.) Because of that slip and fall, I missed a wedding I was scheduled to go to. And because I missed the wedding, I was home to get the call in to work on Monday. The temp agency would have skipped over me and called someone else if I hadn’t been home. My second big job break came on a day where my mother had called to tell me our family dog, 17 years-old, had just died. I shudder to think what would happen if I ever really strike it big.

So can all this weirdness be attributed to the fact that I was born on a Friday the 13th? Is it fate, destiny or just coincidence? I doubt I’ll ever know, but contemplating the concept has led to some pretty unusual stories, so I guess I can’t complain.

“May you live in interesting times.” (often referred to as the Chinese curse)

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1 Comment

  1. Rebecca Snow said,

    It seems we have even more in common. 🙂

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