The Law of Attraction states that whatever we put out into the Universe, we draw towards ourselves. I believe this to be true...most of the time. You see, the Universe has a quirky sense of humor, and sometimes our lives embody the very definition of "irony" itself.
As you may have guessed, I have examples.
I remember in high school one evening I was at a youth group meeting and we were planning a trip to a nearby ski slope. Several of us, including me had never been skiing before and we looked forward to the new experience. When we decided on a date, I realized it was the weekend before the state debate tournament that I was competing in.
I offhandedly said, "With my luck, I'll break my arm the week before the state debate tournament!"
A friend of mine, T, said in an exaggerated tone, "You won't break your arm!"
His tone of voice and facial expression indicated that he thought I was being ridiculous to even suggest such a thing.
The night of our trip came and we were all in high spirits. T and one or two of our other friends rode with me to the slope, only 15 miles from our home town.
The first timers like me started out hesitantly on the bunny slope, and eventually, as confidence increased, most of tried other slopes.
Part way through the night, one of my friends found me and said I should go to the lodge...T was hurt.
When I found him, some of the youth group leaders were with him...he was cradling his arm.
I asked him what happened. He told me he had been talking to a girl (schmoozer that he was), and when the conversation ended, he started to walk away from her, still attached to his skis. What he didn't realize is that his skis were crossed in back and it just so happened that the foot he picked up first was was attached to the ski on the bottom. He lost his balance, and tried to catch himself.
Later, x-rays showed that T had on fact, broken his arm.
Several years ago, when my girls were still young, before my son was born, my first wife and I rented a small house near a small diner. One summer day, I decided it would be a good idea to cut down a small tree that was growing behind the gas meter. I had recently purchased a folding camp saw and thought I would try it out. After I removed the sapling sized tree, I sat cross legged in the yard to trimming it down to a size that would be good kindling for our fire bowl.
Now to say that this wee sapling was wet would be an understatement. As I was trimming it, moisture would occasionally drip from the cuts.
This was a comfortably warm summer day, and I sat, cross legged on the yard, wearing shorts, and trimming this green, green sapling.
I was making my last cut, and let me tell you, that last little bit of bark did not want to let go.
I could not believe how this tiny strip of bark was resisting the massive serrated teeth of the camp saw!
Feeling tired and frustrated, and determined to not be bested by this sapling, I gave that saw one good hard yank...and the saw easily went through the green bark...as well as my right thigh.
The sharp pain surprised me, I immediately dropped the saw and surveyed the damage to my leg. For some reason, still unbeknownst to me, I pulled apart the two sides of the wound to get a better look. To my amazement, there was no blood! Strangely enough though, I was quite sure I was seeing a part of the inside of my leg I had never seen before. It was almost as if my body was shocked enough by what happened that it forgot what to do. Moments later, the blood started flowing. I put pressure on the wound, and hobbled into house, and told my wife "Go be with the girls, they're still outside. I cut myself with the camp saw."
My wife looked at me, looked at the blood trickling down my leg, gave me a blank look and while still blankly looking me in the eyes said into the phone receiver she was holding, "I'll call you back...I have to go."
She stood up, shook her head, mumbled "Idiot" under her breath and went to find the girls.
In short order I figured out that the bleeding wasn't going to stop on its own and suggested my wife drive me to urgent care. After arguing that she should make me drive myself because I was stupid enough to cut myself with a saw, she relented and we were on our way.
The doctor said I had cut through about four layers of skin. One tetanus booster and four stitches later, I was released.
Less than two weeks before, I taught a summer school lesson to a group of visually impaired kids about the safe use of kitchen knives.
I emphasized ad naseum that when using sharp blades, one should ALWAYS think "If this blade slips, what part of my body could get cut?" and then get that body part out of the way.
Last Friday, I was in the midst of my morning routine before going to work. As I was brushing my teeth, I was cagily aware that my tea tree oil toothpaste, with baking soda, didn't feel the same in my mouth as it usually did. Usually I notice a gently scrubbing sensation on my teeth from the baking soda, and the overall texture was unusual. I then became aware that the taste of the toothpaste was strange. As I spit the excess into the sink, I noticed the toothpaste was not the usual pure white color...I thought my gums were bleeding. I glanced down to the left side of the sink to where the tube of toothpaste lay and I was trying to process what was going on. Suddenly I realized I hadn't picked up the tube of toothpaste from the left side of the sink...I picked up the tube from the right side of the sink, put the contents on my toothbrush and set the tube back down on the right side.
I picked up the tube from the right side of the sink to confirm the thought that had just hit me like a freight train...I was brushing my teeth...with diaper cream.
I started hacking and spitting and rinsing my mouth. I desperately clawed at my tongue with my tongue scraper...interestingly enough, diaper cream tends to lock itself into every nook and cranny of the human tongue, scraper or not.
I found my travel toothbrush, loaded it with actual toothpaste and desperately pleaded with the tea tree oil to take away the taste.
Before too many questions surface about why a father who's school age kids live halfway across the country has diaper cream in his bathroom let me say: "deodorant reaction" and "rash."
Here's the kicker...I had been listening to Eckhart Tolle's audiobook version of A New Earth and was regaling my wife with tales of how I was finding new meaning in his teachings about present moment awareness and giving full attention to even the most mundane tasks.
I told my wife this story today when she was on a road trip with my step daughter and she laughed so hard she was afraid she would not make it to the next rest area.
When we are in the midst of life experiences, we experience pain, discomfort...even suffering. Eventually though, the bones knit, the stitches are removed and the zinc oxide taste fades. We can't choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond to what happens.
I have a lot of Kokopeli and Coyote trickster energy in me. I can appreciate a good "gotcha" even when it happens to me. So when the Universe decides to throw an irony at us, sooner or later, I'll be laughing my ass off!