Thursday, May 27, 2010


I don’t know why I just can’t accept coincidences without getting all goofy about them.

Coincidences happen. I understand that. It is just a coincidence that a new friend and I use the same bank. It is just a coincidence that I show up at a party wearing an identical dress that another guest is wearing. But these are not the coincidences that I am talking about.

I’m talking about the spooky, inexplicable kind.

Last night I was doing a bit of genealogy. I had pulled an old file out of my cabinet to review. In it was a worksheet of a very distant relative – one of those that involved things like sixth cousins four times removed – which of course are barely understandable without a lot of thinking and figuring. On this worksheet, which had been prepared by another researcher, was a husband and a wife and two children. The wife is the one who was related to me. Her maiden name was Calista and she married a man named Cyrus Carr. On this worksheet was listed a son, George Carr. Just out of curiosity I wondered if I could track George via censuses until after he married and had a family. (George was born in 1870). I spent a little bit of time looking at the various censuses – 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 but drew a blank. It was getting late – and actually the family was so remote I really didn’t need to even be working on it, so I logged off the computer and didn’t give George Carr another thought. I went to bed.

This morning while I was having my first cup of coffee I picked up a book I had been reading, opened it at my bookmark and started reading. The chapter ended at the bottom of the page, and when I turned to the new chapter, the first paragraph introduced a new character, George Carr.

I call that a spooky, inexplicable kind of coincidence. And I don’t like these kinds – because they don’t have any significance. They just ARE.

Plutarch’s Lives, Volume II, "Sertorious,” offers a word or two:
In is no great wonder if in long process of time, while fortune takes her course hither and thither, numerous coincidences should spontaneously occur.
It’s a good thing I am mentally stable because I can conceive of a person beating their brains out trying to figure out how such coincidences could happen. Religious people might say “God” did it. Astrologers might have a starry explanation for it. But at least I am sane enough not to need an answer. But I don’t seem to be able to gather the equanimity that Plutarch has about it.

I still wonder how that could be? Just too spooky, I say.

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