The Other Shoe

(Photo by Nick Wiebe
Source: WikiMediaCommons)

You know that old saw that goes "bad things come in threes"? Yeah.

I am generally not a superstitious person. I've broken more mirrors than I can count with no ill effect. I might avoid walking beneath a ladder, but it'd be because I know how hard it is to get paint out of your hair. Not only do I not fear that black cat walking across my path, I'm likely to call him over so I can pet him.  I'm smart enough to know that the fourteenth floor on the hotel is really the thirteenth, but it doesn't bother me. And Friday the Thirteenth? Not only is it not a bad thing; evidence shows that it's my lucky day. I was promoted three times during my working career on Friday the Thirteenth. So, no, I'm not superstitious.


I admit it. The whole "bad-things-come-in-threes" thing creeps me out. Think about it. It seems that too often, when you hear about a disaster, within hours, you hear about two more. Plane crashes, celebrity deaths, your friends' divorces. The list goes on. I'm sure you have your own list of threes in your life. It happens often enough that when Bad Thing Number One occurs, I find myself waiting for Bad Thing Numbers Two and Three to follow. It's kind of like waiting for the other shoe to drop, and the shoe after that.

Example: Since 1996 when an airline safety website started paying attention, there have been three (and sometimes more) plane crashes occurring within a few days of each other every year but one. Given the infrequency of plane crashes, this seems notable.

Example:  Within the last month, The Sopranos bad guy James Gandolfini, Glee singer Corey Montieth, and just this morning, long-time White House correspondent Helen Thomas all died. Yes, people die all the time, but the only one of these three whose death might be expected was 92-year-old Thomas.

I tell myself that this phenomenon is coincidence. I see disasters in threes because I look for them. OK, that makes sense, right?


A couple of days ago, another of those "bad-things-come-in-threes" hit, and I definitely wasn't looking for it. If you are a Facebook junkie like me, you know the sorts of things you see on your wall are as varied as your Facebook friends who post them. You see everything from cartoons, photos, rants (political and otherwise), and cute kitten videos to "I burned my toast this morning."  So, when in less than 24 hours, I read heartbreaking posts from three of my good Facebook friends (and folks, I don't have all that many Facebook friends) that his or her beloved dog was horribly ill, was dying, or had already died, I took notice.

I'm not superstitious, but some people believe these things.

At least all three shoes have dropped.


Native Americans believe the number is four, and the Chinese five.

Hug your pup.



  1. Yay...a Patti piece! I haven't seen one for a while. I share your superstition about bad news coming in threes and take note of it, too. I hadn't heard about Helen Thomas - not unexpected, as you said, but still sad. What a great lady. But now this particulr three cycle is over. Let's breathe a sigh of relief.

  2. Patti, you know how this just goes straight to my heart. Poor doggies, and their owners. My heart goes out to them.

  3. well now...that is a scary thought...i think at times we do see superstition in things because we are looking for it...it is interesting the signifigance we give numbers as well...ugh on the pups...its horrible...we had a stay that has been hanging out around the house get hit by a car yesterday...was very sad...

    good to see you though...smiles. whatcha been up to?

  4. That sort of creeped me out. My newest rescue pup came to us after having her leg broken by a car. Her leg has since mended and she's doing great... except, yesterday she came up limping and I thought she might have re-injured her leg... except, it was the OTHER leg!

    (She was fine Saturday morning.)

  5. It does seem to work that way doesn't it? Although my pooch, after a bit of a panic looks like she'll be fine after surgery tomorrow. What was weirder was Jeff consoling me on Friday when I was in a panic and thinking about euthanasia then the next day...bam...Jax gets bitten by a snake of all things. Talk about irony.

  6. I owned a black cat a few years back, and aside from him having a grumpy streak to him, he wasn't bad news for me. I've been known to walk around ladders. My kids often recite nursery rhymes about Mums and their backs when jumping around cracks. I know they are folklore items, but those threes have been known to strike me too.

    Now don't get me started on full moons girl!


Thoughts? I would love to hear from you.