When we jinx ourselves

About a month ago, my wife had to have gallbladder surgery. Thankfully, it was caught early and she has since recovered nicely.

I remember saying something at the hospital along the lines of ..."well, I've never had to be hospitalized for anything myself."

It looks like I forgot to knock on that wood.

Just three weeks later, I found myself getting checked out in the hospital for what turned out to be a gas/constipation issue that nagged me for over a week. I've always had a strong stomach, seldom complaining of any digestive problems over the years. I can only assume that eating meat for five consecutive days, coupled with stress I'd been under lately, were the likely culprits.

Isn't it bizarre how we can jinx ourselves in this way?

We say that something hasn't happened for a long time -- say, we haven't gotten a cold, been summoned for jury duty, or broken an ankle -- and bam, it happens.

It's as if someone out in the ether hears us and, with one wave of their magic wand, instantly turns our fortune into misfortune.

It's no surprise many people don't like to communicate aloud that things are going smoothly for them in some way. Perhaps subconsciously they know that, like a baseball player who goes on a remarkable hitting streak, his or her luck will eventually end. They may very well fear that opening their mouth will somehow hasten that reversal of good fortune.

I suppose this phenomenon is at least tangentially tied to Murphy's law, which states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

I don't think that merely uttering that something unpleasant hasn't happened will lead to it happening. Just maybe, without even realizing it, we do things that are conducive to that outcome.

For example, a person might gloat that he's never been fired from a job. As a result, he may engage in risky behaviors ranging from showing up 10 minutes late every day to taking long lunches. He may not be conscious of the fact that he's actually self-sabotaging himself, increasing the likelihood of his being canned for the first time.

Still, many people remain convinced that merely saying something can come back to haunt you -- that no one is above fate.

What's your opinion?  Do you believe in "jinxing" yourself?

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