Word Of The Week 23/04

Chains-of-chance

When multiple mistakes add up to something after all

eg. Many years back, in the days of vinyl, and more specifically back in the days when a birthday windfall would be quickly converted to an immediate computation of exactly which records, at which price, and in which store, would give me the maximum return for my pennies (plus the cost of the blank tapes to copy them onto for the benefit of my Walkman).

One of the titles on the whistle-stop purchasing spree that day was Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Greatest Hits. Only, in my quite unnecessary rush that day, I picked up Volume.2 instead of Volume.1 (quite how, I don’t know cos the second volume had a truly hideous cover that you couldn’t mistake for anything else, but…) Anyhow, I took it to the counter to make me purchase and add it to the stack of vinyl I’d trawled for that morning.

In the afternoon, with the stylus attached to my arm, I realized my mistake, but… as I removed the vinyl from the inner sleeve and inspected the label it became obvious that the record didn’t match the cover. The guy in the shop had managed to put the record-I-actually-wanted into the sleeve I’d mistakenly presented to him.

I could have taken it back and sorted it out, but my purchases were worked out to the penny and the two volumes were priced differently. The right thing to do would have been to take it back and get the wrong record. So I stuck with the quirkiness, the better music, and the moment to remember – it was a good result or me. Not so good for the record shop, not so good for whoever eventually tried to buy the record I’d got, and not so good for the band (cos I never liked the look of the second volume).

I had another such double-coincidence yesterday, but in a more complicated way (I would explain it, but the explanation could fill three encyclopeadias and would still be mundane). The annoying aspect was that yesterday I happened to start reading this Stanislaw Lem story, The Chain Of Chance, which I’ve had kicking around for a while, but…

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