I am sick. I did this to myself. By which, I don't mean that I having been going around licking light switches and shopping trolley handles in an attempt to get my viral groove on. The vehicle of my downfall is hubris.
Although "hubris" sounds like the word that describes the process by which phlegm is produced in the body, it actually means "exaggerated pride or self-confidence".
And though it's almost certainly a coincidence that less than a week after I was bragging to the Silver Fox about how few sick days I take compared to him, what with his head-knocks and his sport injuries, I now find myself tucked up in bed with an unfortunately leaky face and doing the "chain-smoking" equivalent of popping Vicks VapoDrops. It's hard not to feel as though I brought this on myself.
Because although in most ways I would consider myself a rationalist, there are key areas where I let the side down and slide into superstition. "Jinxing" things would be one such area. I am prone to specifically not speak of things that I want to happen, in case by speaking them aloud I "jinx" them. The results of sporting fixtures, exams or job interviews, all have caused me to keep shtum for fear of negatively influencing the outcome (such is the power of my Word).
On occasions where have spoken aloud my desire for somebody to get a job or have good health outcomes from a procedure or for their half-witted cheating ex-boyfriend to be in a tragic workplace accident that involves their genitals getting caught in a paper shredder (you know who you are), I'm generally in the habit of, ahem, "touching wood" to ensure that the desired outcome is still achieved. This usually takes the form of knocking the nearest tabletop or wooden piece of furniture with my knuckles, or a tree or wooden power pole if outside. Where no actual wood is available MDF or even Formica surfaces are acceptable. The Silver Fox generally touches his own noggin. Given his recent history with concussions I think this is a singularly foolish practice, though it's rather more socially acceptable than making contact with his crotch, I suppose.
And you know, it's not until you start writing this all down that you realise how crazy it actually is. What my actions are basically saying is that I believe that a) talking about something I want to happen will through some indefinable, magical process prevent it from happening and b) that this process can be halted by my hand making contact with an object that used to be a tree.
And yet, I don't actually believe any of this. I think that sounds mental, actually. So why have I been doing this for as long as I can remember?
I really don't know. I can only imagine that it gives me the illusion of control over events that are completely out of my hands. That it's a barmy, mostly harmless conceit that makes life a tiny bit less stressful?
Still, I think I might have a crack at not doing it anymore just to see if I can.
So let's start this again.
I am sick. I probably caught something off my workmate who is also sick at the moment...
Do you have any weird superstitions? Do you try to avoid "jinxing" things? Have you ever thought about how borderline delusional these superstitions are and have you ever considered trying to break yourself of the habit?
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