I lead what could be described as a charmed life. Things come off for me, stuff happens that leads to good things, I meet people who end up positively influencing my life and I always find five pound notes in my trousers. Well, maybe not *that* charmed.

But it always fascinates me when there appears to be one person to whom bad things continually happen. Like someone I know who is always either ill, recovering but still delicate, struggling to avoid becoming ill or suffering some other tragic emotional injury. Often without gaps for breath inbetween.

Work in any job with a responsibility for helping people and you’re guaranteed to come into contact with these sorts of unfortunates. People for whom life is a never-ending piece of toast landing butter side down. Into a puddle.

For instance: You’re doing a mass mail for an event, and you print off a random test run. It just so happens to be Man A, which is funny because you could almost have predicted that, as Man A always seems to find someway to become part of your working day. You laugh, note the errors (Christ, I’d written ‘shit’ instead of ‘shut’!) and recycle the page.

Two days later, after you’ve sent the letter, you find your Man A test page again. Strange, you think, I was sure I’d thrown this. Except this is the *proper* page, and the test page (you remember, the one with ‘shit’ written on it) has inexplicably found its way back into the pile, into an envelope and off to Man A. Who then calls you seconds after you’ve realised this to complain about his letter having the word ‘shit’ written on it.


Or Mrs B. You set up an event, say, and ask people to book. Only there’s an event with *almost* the same name on a website with *almost* the same address that you could never have known about. And this one requests a cheque for £25. So who finds the wrong event and then pays for an event you’d already told her was free of charge? Of course. Mrs B.

It doesn’t stop there though, does it? Because Mrs B sent the cheque to *you*. So when it arrives you call her, and find out she’s booked for the wrong event. And now you can’t book her on to yours, because it’s fully booked. You apologise, you talk, you’re on the phone for an hour. Then you send the cheque back to her.


Is this just a perception thing? Is it all down to me just picking out the good parts of the things that happen to me and only seeing the bad parts that are to do with other people? I hope not. That makes me a bit of a twat.

Or is it really just chance? Luck, fortune, charm, the will of the Gods?

It’s a difficult one to live with, because once you’re aware you’ve always had luck you’re stuck between living recklessly because things will always turn out right and living carefully because you don’t want to mistakenly live recklessly (because things always turn out right) in case things don’t turn out right and you go under a bus or lose your job or find yourself homeless.

That said, imagine if you went around *always* expecting the worst to happen, wanting to be able to throw caution to the wind (especially since you know it’ll turn out badly and can prepare yourself for this) but needing to live carefully in case it all turns out wrong (which of course it will) and so inevitably leading a straight-jacked existance in the hope of things going well while instead everything turns to shit time and time again.

It’s enough to give you indigestion.


About Ben Catley-Richardson

Writer, reader, husband. Father!
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