Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Lock and Key; Fate and Humanity

Oedipus, the Blind. (Photo credit: By Albert Greiner
I lock and unlock my classroom door approximately five times per day.

On my school key chain, I have five keys that are irrelevant to this post, but the two remaining keys appear identical (at least to a non-locksmith).

Often, when I am unlocking my door and my students are waiting behind me, I will joke that that laws of probability say that I have a 50% chance of picking the right key first but that, 100% of the time (and this is, as far as I can remember, completely true), I pick the wrong key first.

Ah, Man and Fate. The eternal struggle. Plague of Oedipus; power higher than Gods and Titans...

Today, however, before I could pick the wrong key, yet again, I dropped the whole bundle. I picked them up and chose one. It was the right key. (The door opened; a beam of light shone down from above...)

Thinking as an ancient Greek, I might surmise that some favorable God, some agent of Fate's dominion (I like to think, perhaps, Athena is on my side, what with me obviously being the idea man of my age as was my predecessor, Odysseus) jangled the keys into the right position before I picked them up...but...that's just it, isn't it?

Is Fate stopping me from picking the right key, or is it a result of the repetition of the position in which they hang and the fact that I am right-handed that causes the "wrong" key to come to my fingers first? Dropping the keys broke the pattern of physical events that leads, daily, to my failure.

See, it's not Fate. It's Physics.

With how many other things to we do this? How often to we blame forces beyond our control for our rough-patches? I know a guy who is always complaining about his poor health. He has actually uttered the phrase, "Why does all this s$%t happen to me?" Well, we could blame God or Fate or we could blame the fact hat he weighs about three-hundred pounds.

But what if it is Fate? What if the forces of the cosmos really do tend to conspire against us? Well, even so, if I took five minutes to put a little rubber key identifier on the proper key to my classroom, I could smite Fate and become the master of my own door-opening destiny. Even old Teiresias would have to admit I was able to pull of what Oedipus could not.

And, so, I become the first character in a long line of victims of fate whose hubris become his salvation. I shall outwit Fate! scrape up the 75 cents for one of those key thingies...

No comments:

Post a Comment