in threes

At the end of what will go down in history as one of the worst weeks in the last 5 years of my life (I have a very specific grading system when it comes to categorising worst weeks) I felt it necessary to document said events which contributed to this somewhat dramatic statement. If anything, to act as a reminder that while some weeks truly are shit but also that bad things truly come in threes.

It’s one of those phrases that is often bandied around with no real consideration as to where it actually comes from. Is there any empirical evidence that bad things come in threes? Or is it simply one poor but etymologically infuential chap had a spot of bad luck and it just caught on?

Either way, after:

1) discovering I had a horrendous gum infection from ignoring agonising wisdom tooth pain for a week in an attempt to avoid taking time off work during this incredibly busy time (additional irony coming in Bad Thing #2)

2) being made redundant

3) dropping my laptop off my bed and consequently smashing the screen requiring £110 of repair work.

I realised perhaps there is some truth in this statement.

Now being painfully and abruptly unemployed, I’m still unsure what people in my predicament are meant to do with this vast vacuum of time which has now opened up before me. I chose to fill it with researching anarchic English proverbs – “misfortunes never come singly“. The 14th century version of ‘bad things come in threes’.

First writ in King Alisaunder, (thank you a 14th century romance consisting of 8,034 lines of couplets, this theory’s first manifestation was:

Men telleth in olde mone [lament] The qued [harm] comuth nowher alone.

Well, let me tell you my qued comuth nowher alone indeed, instead bringing its bloody mates along to really make sure this week stuck in my mind as hard as the knife had been stuck in my back.

Ok, a tad dramatic, there was not so much any back stabbing. They were kind enough to stab me in the front. And pay me a month’s salary. Giving me a month to try and find another job. Or at least erradicate some of the guilt as I spend hours looking up ancient proverb etymologies on the internet.

Up next: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

What does that even mean? Has anyone actually used this in a sentence? I do not want one bird in my bush, let alone two….


This entry was published on February 6, 2011 at 12:04 pm. It’s filed under Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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