Why do things break?
While you ponder that profound question, I’ll give you a few answers.
Because it wasn’t put together properly, because the laws of physics/gravity/erosion/time were applied and ate away the material, because it was made in China by an enslaved five year old, because because because. But, why, pray tell, does shit always break in THREES????
There is a law we all seem to know about, that doesn’t really have a name, but applies in many regards to our life. Things will ultimately break down all around us, not once, not twice, but three times, like a bully at the playground slamming your head into the pavement. This bully, I’ll call her Life, can be a total bitch to deal with.
“I SAID, I want all the money you make, up front, now, in the form of a water tank, a broken shower, and a new roof. NOW! Quit your crying about a vacation or a house payment and GIVE ME THE MONEY,” she says, relentless. So you cry and give it to her, because, what else can you do? Jerk-face Life.
Its superstition, and if you look anywhere you can find a third to back up your two random bits of awfulness, whether they actual things or more nebulous scenarios like a break-up or a sickness. For me, I often lose something, break something, and then, god forbid, break a favorite mug. I try not to take my possessions too seriously, but a favorite broken mug is a real bummer. It’s like a friend, always there waiting for you in the morning, saying, “Hello, tired traveler. I’m sorry your kids woke you up ten times in the night. Here is a perfect cup of coffee. Yes, my handle is a smooth and soothing piece of ceramic, warmed by the liquid within. Go ahead, it’s okay, you can hold me in both hands if you need to. You can even bring your lips to me and hold them there far longer than you should. I am here for you. I am your mug.” There is a tiny part of you that knows this is just a simple object, that it serves a purpose and that it can be replaced. But somehow, that is the three that breaks me. “Why are you crying over a broken dish?” my husband once asked me, the last time I (sob) lost a mug. I smiled to show him that I knew it was nuts, that I was really just pre-menstrual, that I was in a mood, ha ha. But the reality is that I couldn’t put into words how my Mom and I laughed about this mug, it’s simple “that hits the spot” statement, that we bought it in a small and dusty town filled with antique stores, where we ran into an old neighbor we hadn’t seen in fifteen years, and where I’d had one of the best meals of my life in a place that made it’s own butter.
This law of threes could be happening around us at all times; we just only take notice when it becomes ghastly expensive or starts messing with our sentimental items. I don’t shake my fist at the sky if I break a razor, find a grey hair, and stub my toe on the bed: that stuff is happening all the time. Next time I break something I will follow the old wives tale, and take two jam jars outside and immediately smash them, offsetting any further issues that are itching to arise. Take that, jerk face.