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MARTHA SEZ: PTB conspiring against our Keene potatoes

December 1, 2016
By MARTHA ALLEN , Lake Placid News

A certain man once lost a diamond cuff-link in the wide blue sea, and 20 years later, on the exact day, a Friday apparently, he was eating a large fish but there was no diamond inside. That's what I like about coincidence. (Vladimir Nabokov, "Laughter in the Dark")

Some people like to proclaim "There are no coincidences!" but they are mistaken.

Except for coincidence, how can we explain the fact that so many of the people I know were unable to successfully roast their Thanksgiving turkeys this year?

Perhaps the coincidence deniers think that the celestial Powers That Be-angels, or whatever-have nothing better to do than lounge on clouds looking down at people going about their daily lives and pushing them around with invisible cosmic popsicle sticks, making them do whatever. Or perhaps the PTB are simply amusing themselves, the way small children mess with ants-ants who, like us, are just minding their own business.

I have to admit that beings who exist on a purely spiritual plane for all eternity probably suffer from boredom. Try to imagine eternity. The PTB have way too much time on their hands. In fact, the concept of time is probably irrelevant to them, except in a purely academic sense.

When they are operating their hapless mortal puppets (us), they need to do so within the framework of time and space, as if they are solving a mathematical problem or working out a puzzle. They have to use the principles of time and space in order to place Bluebell and FitzPatrick together "coincidentally" in a foreign land so that they fall in love with each other all over again after a long separation, the reasons for which also once seemed coincidental, but which, like the reunion, were of course due to the machinations of the PTB, who were as usual bored out of their minds and looking to manipulate the lives of humans. At least it gives them something to do.

And yes, I know, many people think that the PTB have truly benevolent and compassionate reasons for the ways in which they interfere in our lives, and that they don't just trifle with our fates for their own amusement.

"It was meant to happen," say the coincidence deniers.

All right, now that I have just about talked myself into the "Everything Happens for a Reason" belief system, I must mention Chaos Theory and the Butterfly Effect, that stipulate that small and seemingly insignificant causes can result, over time, in disproportionately large effects. I like this idea, because it suits my world view of randomness.

Even if events don't happen randomly, they don't happen for the reasons we think they do, and there are so many unknowns that affect outcome, it all seems random. We can't accurately forecast the weather, much less how someone's life will turn out. All kinds of things will collide and coincide in ways that are far beyond our ken, and, what is more, in ways that are completely impersonal and meaningless as far as we are concerned.

Of course that totally rules out any chance of the PTB pulling the strings behind the curtain.

If you tend toward conspiracy theory in your belief system, or if you say that there is no such thing as coincidence, I would love to hear what you have to say about the great Thanksgiving turkey roast fiasco. Here are the facts.

I celebrated Thanksgiving with my younger sister and brother in our home town in Michigan. My sister's oven had stopped working, so they couldn't have roasted a turkey even if they had wanted to, but Sissy and Jimmy have a tradition of getting together for elaborate sandwiches on Thanksgiving, so in this case it didn't matter. Coincidentally, however, her daughter in Chicago also experienced oven failure on Thanksgiving, and so she and her husband and their children ate out at a restaurant.

Meanwhile, my friend Darla in Elizabethtown, New York, was just taking her turkey out of the oven when the wiring burst into flame and her partner jumped up to throw the breaker. They called the fire department.

Which leads up to the big power outage in Keene Thanksgiving afternoon. Many turkeys were already cooked, but a lot of potatoes didn't make it to the table, and many a family ate by candlelight who hadn't planned a romantic evening.

Were these random events, or were they meant to be? I'm still working it out.

Have a good week.



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