About a year ago I wrote a blog about the coincidences in my life. Psychologist Carl Jung christened them "synchronicities". According to Jung synchronicities are "temporally coincident occurences of acausal events". Meaning they happen close in time without any apparent reason. A professor by the name of J.E. Littlewood called them "miraculous occurences".
I'm sure I'm not alone in noticing these strange phenomena. So I thought I would relate a few very fresh ones. A matter of fact, they happened last night.
I was doing a little reading before hitting the sack, and got the idea to pick up a play by Shakespeare from my personal library. The Merry Wives of Windsor. I have this bucket-list backlog of books to read which includes the Shakepearean canon; I have always meant to finish it but somehow never have. I have no idea why last night seemed opportune for the antics of Sir John Falstaff and friends . It just did.
I figured I'd read a scene or two and come back to it another time. In case you don't remember, The Merry Wives is one of Shakespeare's comedies. It has its share of clownish characters with names like Shallow, Slender, and Simple. And of course, the immortal and universally celebrated John Falstaff, the rotund 'impoverished knight' who was the carousing crapulous sidekick of Henry V--- before he succeeded to the throne.
As I waded my way through the opening dialogue, I came upon these lines spoken by Simple, the servant of Slender. "Book of Riddles? Why, did you not lend it to Alice Shortcake upon Allhallowmas last, a fortnight afore Michaelmas?"
With the help of the copious notes of the Folger Shakespeare Library paperback edition, I realized that Michaelmas ---the feast of St. Michael---was September 29, the next morning. A nano- coincidence, but still a coincidence.
After Act I, Scene 1, I decided to shift reading gears and start a book about the genetic code: "The Violinist's Thumb" by Sam Kean. The title had appealed to me when I saw it at the Worth Public Library. In chapter 1 "Genes, Freaks, DNA", the author writes how in the past, people had bizarre explanations for inherited traits. For example, according to their folk theory, a woman "who never satisfied an intense prenatal craving for strawberries gave birth to a baby covered with red, strawberry-shaped splotches". Doctors in the 1600s also "reported that a woman in Naples, after being startled by sea monsters, bore a son covered in scales, who ate fish exclusively and gave off fishy odors." Or in those days, a perfect Frday companion at dinner.
And then there was a woman who enjoyed a backstage sexual performance with her actor husband. Which must have been a challenge since he still was in full costume. He was playing Mephistopheles (one of Satan's aliases) . A full nine months later, she bore a child with hooves and horns. There is no mention of whether her name was Rosemary.
This Mephistopheles allusion rang a bell. I reopened The Merry Wives and, voila, Pistol---one of Falstaff's entourage---has this line: "How now, Mephostophilus"? Pistol obviously did not graduate head of his class in grammar school.
Littlewood theorized that these "miraculous occurences" pop up every 35 days. But two in one night?
Gentle readers, I'd be interested to hear if you've had similar experiences. They're very common, I'm told. Maybe as Falstaff says, they're "as good luck would have it". Or maybe they're in our genes.