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Bad things come in 'threes'

January 2, 2012 - Michael Palmer
Ever heard someone say that "bad things always come in threes"? I've always had problems with this saying, and anything else based on superstition.

Have you been there too? Regardless of what significance we assign to events. Are we simply creating patterns where they don't exist by choosing to string events together even when they are unrelated.

But, recent events have me wondering.

First there was my mother-in-law passing away with cancer in early December.

Then on Christmas Eve my daughter had me pull over on our way home from visiting my father-in-law because her gall bladder was causing her to become nauseated. After a Christmas Day trip to the emergency room which reveled she needed to be hospitalized immediately for surgery with gall stones and an infection.

The first surgery went well but there was one gall stone lodged in the common duct, so she required a second surgery and is now restricted to no lifting and no driving for six weeks.

Then my Uncle, sadly, died suddenly over the weekend. We were notified that he had been diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas and lungs on Friday. The doctors had given him four to six weeks; he died 2 AM new years morning.

I can't help but wonder if there is something to the superstition, as this was the third health problem or hardship for me and my family this Holiday season.

Humans are especially good at creating patterns, even when there are none. It was an essential tool in the survival of our species back in the pre-historic days.

I am thankful that my daughter is well. The surgery and surrounding holiday drama sparked a manic episode for her husband who was also hospitalized due to stress over the holidays. So, maybe my daughter's surgery doesn't fit into the bad news; or perhaps we were over blessed with four which would disprove the rule of threes.

In either case, my wife and I are now helping out with caring for the two grandchildren while my daughter is recovering. My dad and perhaps my sister are headed to Georgia for the funeral and wake for my uncle. He had 10 children, and numerous grand and great-grand children; and I believe his family now is a major part of the local population where they live.

It is a new year and we are hoping that the December to remember is all a part of the past and 2012 will be full of good health and fortune.

If bad things can be related in threes, then it also is a logical conclusion that good things can also come in threes.


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