Bad luck comes in threes

I’m not a believer in superstition. Actually that is too weak a statement – unfounded superstitions are by definition not true, and are grounded in unscientific tales and hearsay passed over generations.

I say this because I have just encountered the so called “bad luck comes in threes” streak. Yesterday evening the fridge greeted me with a healthy serving of single cream, received kindly by the floor and my jeans. I had been contemplating going out somewhere, but I opted to stay home and get those cleaned.

Today, as I walked towards the station, my jacket was greeted by a friendly bird’s feces. Luckily the streak went clean along the sleeves, which were waterproof, and I was able to make use of the station facilities to get that cleaned up.

Following this mild inconvenience, I enter the train and pop on my headphones to listen to a podcast. Turns out that one of the ears no longer works. This is the first time my headphones malfunction randomly (typically they break due to careless cable-related violence on my part), and so I wonder if that bird had anything to do with it – of course it doesn’t, at least not directly.

The funny conclusion to this story is that the train I’m on was delayed slightly as I write these words. I am hesitant to classify this as a bad luck event proper. My brain rationalised this by saying that minor train delays occur much too frequently for them to be considered bad luck, in isolation or otherwise (they tend to be independent with respect to personal bad luck events). It also sees the train delay as a blessing in disguise, allowing me to complete this piece before reaching my final destination; that still was not enough time. However, my theory is that my brain is attempting to shadow its participation in confirmation bias, since, as we all know, bad luck comes in threes not fours!


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