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Guest column | Mary Partington

The law of convergence can be mystifying

When something goes wrong, my better half will say, "Well, Murphy got me again," referring to Murphy's Law. This adage states, "If anything can go wrong, it will."

Another way of stating the law is, "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong, and at the worst possible time, in the worst possible way."

The origin of this adage is a matter of conjecture. Some believe that the law can be attributed to Capt. Edward A. Murphy, a U.S. Air Force engineer in 1949 who was working on a project designed to show the effects of sudden deceleration on humans. After finding an incorrectly wired transducer, Murphy told the wiring technician, "If there is any way to do it wrong, he'll find it." It can be said that Murphy just gave a name to a law that has been around for years.

There is another phenomenon that occurs during our lifetime that needs to be named. It is the law of convergence.

Presently, a housing crisis is battering our country. We are seeing inflation in the cost of food and basic necessities. In addition, we are fighting a war on terror. Each of these situations is tragic, but why do they have to happen at the same time?

How many times has it been said that bad things come in threes? It is the law of convergence. In our daily interactions with family and friends, we will hear about someone who may have one tragedy followed by another and then another. We wonder what can cause such unfairness. If we find ourselves in this compounding tragedy situation, we wonder if we have offended our higher power.

The law can come into play when we reach a certain birthday and we are deluged with aches and pains and illness. I remember one year I had three separate MRIs, starting at my head and going to my knees. I spent more time in doctors' offices than on the golf course.

The law of convergence can apply to our emotions. We can face disasters and tragedies with dry-eyed, stoic fortitude. Then when we stub a toe or see an injured puppy we are brought to our knees in a torrent of tears. It seems as though every tear we have held back suddenly multiplies and we can do nothing to stem the onslaught. Or our rage can take over and we lose it over the simplest incident.

How many times have you gone to a supermarket for just one item, and as you enter the store the lines are empty and all the cashiers are at the registers? You dash for the gallon of milk the kids need for breakfast and speed to the checkout. Now, there are just two lanes open and each is full of customers with full carts. The 10-item-only lane has six customers in it and each has 11 items. Usually, the customer at the front of this line is writing a check. The law of convergence is at work.

Simply stated, the law of convergence is: One adverse situation is most often followed by another ill-timed occurrence and in some cases the dire situations may multiply exponentially.

When we find our lives filled with multiple calamities, we wonder if these events have been sent to us and we question whether our behavior is at fault. It is common to look skyward and ask, "Why me?"

In truth, it may just be the perversity of the universe that has brought the law of convergence into being. While we can suffer multiple misfortunes, we can also have multiple good fortune. The trick is to celebrate our good fortune and to outlast the bad.

Mary Partington lives in New Port Richey.

The law of convergence can be mystifying 01/05/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 9:19am]

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