Stick with me — this one’s off-the-wall even for me.
When my machine breaks down I have a mixture of dread and excitement. I’ve owned it for nearly 14 years, long enough for man and machine to form a bond. Every time my employment status changes my machine will develop a fault: I kid you not. The scientists amongst you will rightly point out that I must treat it differently after the employment change — what those of us in the know would call ‘researcher bias’. This isn’t likely, since the machine sometimes develops the fault a day or two before I know my status is going to change.
A physician friend told me a while ago that in medical knowledge “Once is a case, twice is an interesting coincidence but three times is a syndrome”. So I would guess that five times must a strict rule. Last night’s breakdown on Friday 13th was due to my having left my job on Wednesday. Luckily, I’m in control — so it’s mainly excitement I’m feeling.