My birthday is coming up. Typically, I like to announce excitedly to the room "Guess who has a birthday coming up?" and when everyone looks around at each other, I yell excitedly, "ME!"
It's not that I enjoy being in the spotlight. Those people are crazy. It's just that I enjoy craft beer, delicious food and having other people chase after my children while I sit on a couch. This is all that I require for my birthday.
I wanted to make sure that my husband was planning something, and I am not above reminding him. I had two approaches:
1.) “You might already have something in the works, but here’s a friendly a reminder that my birthday is coming up.”
2.) "You should plan something for my birthday."
Deep down, I knew that I chose approach #1, he would be more likely to not have something planned, and would feel bad about it. If I chose approach #2, he would possibly already have something planned.
I would like to submit to you: Erin’s Law.
Hey! I know in the context of my birthday diva-dom, you might be tempted to accuse me of self-aggrandizing here. But it was my husband's idea to call it Erin's Law. I was talking my idea through with him, wanting to come up with a term like "jinx" for this phenomenon. He said, "I think you are missing an opportunity here to go down in history - like Murphy."
Erin's Law is different from Murphy's Law. Murphy's Law states that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Erin's Law states that intention or need repels fulfillment.
Here are some examples of Erin's Law.
- ) Worrying about something, especially aloud, means that it is probably not going to happen. How many planes have crashed when people were on them declaring "This plane is going to crash"? When life is going to fuck you up, it plows you from the side.
If you're worried that Option A will happen, and you want Option B to happen, Option X will happen.
2.) Wishing for something means that it's probably not going to come true. It's only when you stop looking for Mr. Right that he drops a pile of file papers on the ground in front of you. Or if you can't stop wishing for Mr. Right, maybe you'll find an excellent best friend to grow old with instead.
3.) When you're lost, you'll only find your way after you announce that you're giving up. When you've lost your keys, you'll only find them after you stop looking - in the least likely place.
4.) When I make plans for all the great stuff I'm going to do when Harry falls asleep for his nap, he decides not to nap that day.
5.) When you go to the bathroom at a restaurant, your food will be there when you get back (because you are not just sitting there waiting).
6.) When you make the mistake of saying "wow, our children are being so well behaved!" or "he's been sleeping through the night so well lately," they will inevitably start misbehaving and waking up all night long.
7.) I think I’m finished with this work task, but if I close the related tabs on my browser then my boss will surely email me back with more edits.
I know, this hovers dangerously close to "jinxing" something, but the thing is, we've been using the term "jinx" lazily. Jinx just means to curse something with bad luck. Erin's Law can explain both positive and negative phenomena.
The closest maxim I can think of is a watched pot never boils. Erin's Law is more rebellious than that. It states that a watched pot never boils, except maybe if you say that it will never boil then it will suddenly start boiling when you least expect it. It also says that an unwatched pot will possibly start boiling randomly.