Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Expect the Unexpected

My Dear Reader,

I think that one of the stupidest English clichés is "expect the unexpected." I cringe whenever I hear it, just like I do whenever I see the word "yummy" in print. Ugh. I have thoroughly examined the situation and have decided that something must be done. Maybe realizing that there is a problem can be the first step to the healing process here. Allow me to argue my point:

How can you possibly expect the unexpected? Once you expect it, isn't it now more properly classified under things expected? So instead of actually expecting the unexpected, it's more like expecting that which was previously, but is no longer, unexpected.

Anyway you slice it, you can't really expect the unexpected. You can try, I suppose, but in my experience this has a tendency to turn into expecting all sorts of completely outrageous scenarios that have probably never happened to anyone. This is what we like to call paranoia.

Of course, there are always those rare cases in which those completely outrageous situations are suddenly (and sometimes violently) brought into reality. For example, you might be looking ahead to finals week with worry and anxiety, expecting difficult tests that make teeth pulling look pleasant, but you might not expect to go into your kitchen the morning of the last day of classes, trip over your own feet, and hit the part of your skull between the temple and the eye with a fairly blunt drawer handle, creating a cut which requires ten stitches and a tetanus shot. Yet, it happens all the time, and by that I mean that it happened to me last finals week and it wasn't pretty. I spent a whole week trying to think up a better story to tell my friends and attempting to convince my co-workers that it was not the doing of my husband or boyfriend (which were both at that time nonexistent). So yeah, I definitely didn't expect that, but should I have? Or is it preferable that I always stay in the state I was in after that, when I started to see every visable surface as an instrument of doom? That's the kind of thing that makes you want to stay in bed for the rest of your life.

And at the same time, I think that if a person truly could expect the unexpected, life would be incredibly boring and perhaps even unbearable. Variety is the spice of life, and even though getting stitches wasn't the best experience I've ever had around finals (though it definitely wasn't the worst) it was the most exciting thing that had happened to me in at least a month, and it was kind of nice to have something to talk about when people asked me how things were going*. It's sick and twisted, I know, but I have to fight the overwhelming misconception that I am the most boring person alive with every weapon at my disposal.

So I suppose the conclusion I have come up with is that expecting the unexpected can only lead to paranoia or boredom, and neither of those are exceedingly appealing alternatives. I think I'll just try to be careful and get on with my life.

Regards, best wishes, and excitement,

-Cecily Jane

*Of course, I was in a car accident about two weeks prior to the stitches incident, but I didn't get hurt at all from the crash, so I suppose it's debatable as to which incident was more exciting. Either way, I'm sure Madre was getting sick of my calling her from the emergency room.


MJH said...

I have more problem with people who unexpect the expected! Take drugs--get hooked. Don't study--bad grades. Marry a heavy drinker--have a drunk for a husband. The list goes on and on and on.

~Stappsters~ said...

eat lots of chocolate--get super duper fat. Do you hate super duper in print? Super is enough, huh?

Cecily Jane said...


Definitely. Stupidity is not an excuse.


Yeah, I do, but not really in an informal setting such as this. I once saw "yummy" in a nationally circulating magazine, which was just disgusting. I mean, how old are the those writers? I'm a bit of a purist; I know.