Serendipity: Things Are Not Always As They Seem

Horace Walpole
Horace Walpole

English author Horace Walpole coined the word serendipity. He liked his creation, explaining that it was part of the title of “a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip: as their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of....”

The word was created in 1754, the same year that the French and Indian war began. The jist of the war was that the British wanted to expand westward and the French wanted the rest of North America for themselves.

 

 

The French and Indian War
The French and Indian War

Who's Having the Braised Tongue?

The British said to the French, “Back off, you frog-eating Frenchy!”The French replied, “Tu me casses les couilles (You're busting my balls!) Va t'empaler encule (Go fu** yourself!) Vous les vousco chez avec moi? (Will you sleep with me?)”

To which the British responded, “Say what? Listen, you grape-sucking, stanko-Franco! I'll fill you so full of hot lead you'll be picking it out of your snail-filled belly for a week!”

“Mon Dieu, tu me fais chier (My God, you bug the crap out of me!),” replied the French. “Merde! Tu mangeras le tas! (Sh*t! You can eat the pile!) Voulez-vouz coucher avec moi? (Will you go to bed with me?)

 

George Washington and the horse he rode in on.
George Washington and the horse he rode in on.

George Who?

Or something to that effect. So a young Lieutenant Colonel in the Virginia Militia named George Washington was sent to slap the French around a little, maybe break their thumbs, but instead he found them mostly asleep, worn out from all the sex they were having with each other I guess, and he decided to ambush them instead, firing the first shots of what became the French and Indian war. All this business made Washington famous. As you may know, the French eventually lost all North American possessions and Canada was ceded to Britain.

Soon after the start of the war, in hot water for killing a self-important French guy, the Virginia Militia was being broken up into smaller regiments. This would have meant a demotion for Washington to the rank of Captain. Finally, two years later in 1758, miffed at the British for not promoting him into the regular British army as he expected, Washington resigned from the army and spent the next 16 years as a Virginia planter and politician. It was 1774 when Washington was coaxed out of his semi-retirement to lead the American army against—you guessed it—the British, whom he now despised, and we all know how that worked out for him.

 

Photophool / flickr
Photophool / flickr

Sometimes, Fortunes DO Just Happen

The point is, serendipity or “fortunate discovery” stories teach us that things can change in an instant. That things are not always as they seem. Struggling and depressed one minute, and rich and happy beyond our wildest dreams the next. Sometimes people fantasize about these scenarios, which usually involve stumbling upon something of great value, like a group of sleeping French—if you're Washington, landing in America instead of Asia if you're Columbus, or penicillin instead of a petri dish full of mold if you're Alexander Fleming.

Of course, for most of us, the scope of our lives is a little smaller. Our fantasies tend toward something like taking possession of an old house and turning up something of great value left behind—perhaps a forgotten stash of currency, discarded coins that were common but now are worth a fortune, or a coffee can full of priceless jewelry stashed in an attic.

The Barn
The Barn

The Story

Such a story went around the Internet a few months ago. It is a great story and a perfect illustration of serendipity and the fortunate discovery scenario that we love to imagine could happen to us. If you have heard the tale, keep reading. There is a new end. Here is the story:

A man in New York retired. He was not poor, but he wasn't rich either, and so wanted to use his retirement money wisely and make it last. He wanted to buy a home and a few acres, but with a fixed income, found himself looking in foreign country for a nice place within his budget. He found a place in Portugal.

The farmhouse was modest, but it sat on several acres. The house had been vacant for 15 years. The previous owner and his wife had both passed away and there were no heirs, and it was being sold to pay taxes.

Several people had looked at the property, but there was a large barn with steel doors that had been welded shut and nobody wanted to go to the expense of cutting open the thick doors. Besides, the barn was ugly and an eyesore—not complementary to the property at all—so nobody made an offer to buy the place.

The New York guy bought it at just over half of it's worth, moved in, and set about opening the barn to see what was inside. He bought a generator, some grinders, and cut through the welds. What was in the barn? Here are just a few of the pictures:

The Cars

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Expect the Unexpected

The collection of classic cars had an estimated value of 11 million dollars. This is the kind of story we like to hear. After all, it could just as easily have been you or me. I decided to write an article about it, so I researched it, hoping to turn up some additional information, maybe his name or some follow-up story about how his life had been transformed, and so I did, and what I found out was this:

The story is a hoax.

And that is what I really mean by “things are not always as they seem.” There is a barn in Portugal and it is packed with these cars, but they belong to a retired auto dealer who simply had his collection photographed to determine it's value. The pictures were taken from an automobile website, the text written, and sent to dreamers around the world and now is an urban myth.

I think the next time I'll leave the story alone. I don't want to know if it is a hoax. I miss the dream. The fantasy. The sleeping French, America, and Penicillin. Things may not always be what they seem, but there can be meaning in a dream. So you didn't get a bunch of valuable vintage automobiles, but you've got a nice little farm in Portugal with an ugly barn.

Serendipity can happen to you. Dream on.

 

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Comments 99 comments

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 7 years ago from West Virginia

Nice hub!


Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Personally, I consider it very serendipitous to have hit the "Hubtivity" button right when your new hub was published! Great story! Use of French -- c'est merveilleuse! MM. P.S. So, did they ever coucher avec each other???


rockinjoe profile image

rockinjoe 7 years ago from Standing right behind you!

Another instant classic. Thanks to you, I'm never going to stop looking for "my barn in Portugal." (My wife is from there, so if we ever buy a barn there, at least one of us will know the language.)

And not to change the subject, but where the hell were you when I was flunking both French and American History. "Tu me casses les couilles" I should have passed that sophmore final exam.

Thanks for lending me another outstanding piece of your brain.


hot dorkage profile image

hot dorkage 7 years ago from Oregon, USA

The french? I'm sure those beaujolais sucking weiners did that and more!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

LG: Thanks for the comment!

MM: That IS serendipity. Or is it misfortune? I don't know if they ever "coucher aveced" each other...George wasn't a kiss and tell kind of guy. Thanks for having a read and the comment!

Rockin Joe: Ah, from Portugal, eh? I dated a lady from Rio for several years. Ooo, la la! Of course, I was younger and....stronger then! When you were flunking French and American History, I was flunking Portugese and Algebra!

I learned everything I know from you, but thank you for the compliment!

Hot Dorkage: You named something they were doing right there! Thanks for stopping by and leaving the message.


sheenarobins profile image

sheenarobins 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

I got excited reading your hub. i have this habit of serendipity shopping. L.O.L Recently, I bought a hardbound book from the local bookstore. It's worth $21.65 and I got it for a little bit of $2.50. It was a bestseller book and i love looking at it now. still reading it and loving the story. I found a little treasure. It makes my money worth it. It made me happy.

such a bummer that the story was a hoax but i see the necessity of telling us the truth. I preferred the happy ending though. hahahhaha

Nice hub!


goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 7 years ago from Free and running....

I hate the French for reasons I don't know why, but I dig your writin' style, crisp, clean, and flowin' like some hot honey on my bowl of ice cream.


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

I've always loved that word..."serendipity". It sounds so happy and trips off the tongue in much the same way a person can fall upon good fortune.

I laughed my butt off at your English/French dialogue. Thank you for that!!


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 7 years ago from India

Serendipity...the word has always intrigued me. Now if only some serendipitous things would happen to me! I live in hope...:)


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

sheenarobbins:  It sounds like you got a great deal on your book!  I prefer the happy ending too, but I'm amused that someone went to the trouble to do this.

Thanks for the comment!

Goldentoad:  You don't need a reason to hate the French.  You can hate them just because. Thanks for the comments.  They are appreciated.

Spryte: Wow!  Shake a hub tree and look who falls out!  You are sorely missed!  I saw you have published something, so I'm on my way to read it...if I can make it (I have food poisoning and am sick, sick, sick.

I like the dialogue part too. I was laughing writing it and wanted it to go on and on!

So good to hear from you! Glad you are alive (although I may not remain so...uggghhh!)

Feline Prophet:  We can all use a little serendipity in our lives. Here's to you. May your live be full of serendipitous happenings!


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

Hi Christoph - I too have always loved the word serendipity - but to know from where it originated is great as just last week we were driving out in the country and came across a property called "serendip". Quite intriguing to find out that the owners did not run out of either paint or space when they put their sign up!!! Thanks for your hub - they are always good ....cheers


ajcor profile image

ajcor 7 years ago from NSW. Australia

ps hope you feel better soon - wasn't prawns was it? - either way food poisoning is pretty evil!.....


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Ajcor: Now that's a bit of serendipity right there.

Thanks for your good wishes. I think I'll live (but I was not so sure last night!).

It is always a pleasure to hear from you. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment!


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Hi Christoph! In a small part of my mind, I'd rather not know the real end to the barn story either, but even knowing it's a hoax, it doesn't subtract from the fact that it helps one dream! Things are not always as they seem, but what a joy when they are :-) Vive la serendipity! Laugh


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Elena: I agree completely. I was actually amused when I found out, and it won't stop me! I'll dream the next time one comes along. It hardly matters whether it's true (well, it's better if it is) but I make up about half of mine anyway, and there are plenty of true ones to go around.

Thank you for your thoughts!


trish1048 profile image

trish1048 7 years ago

Hi Christoph,

I love the story, and I, like you, choose to believe it's real.  Per chance to dream,,,

Sorry you're feeling under the weather and hope you get better real soon!


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

CR I think Serendipity should be my family motto. I live by it and I guess I will die by it. But happy accidents keep happening in my life. Being here on hub pages is one of them! The great people I get to interact with another. I thoroughly enjoyed your hub. Pity about the grinding end!

Have a great 2009 and get rid of that tummy bug soon. I assume it was the frogs legs?


C. C. Riter 7 years ago

Show off! I liked it a lot. thanks

Toad, now I'm gonna have to find Suzanne an see if she'll sit on my ice cream.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Trish, thanks for stopping by. I was so taken in by this. It had an air of truth to it--the cars are so dusty, etc--and was surprised by the ending.

Thanks for the well wishes re. my food poisoning, too. I appreciate it.

sixtyorso: I have a lot of (wht I call) synchronicity, stunning sometimes. The think is, you know it when it happens to you.

Thanks for the comment. Good to hear form you.

C.C. Ritter: Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment. Have a ggreat day!


Princessa profile image

Princessa 7 years ago from France

serendipity... now I know what it means LOL You have surprised me with your French Christoph, very cheeky dialogue :-)


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Hi Princessa: Glad you stopped by to read. Hope my French is not too incorrect. Cheeky indeed!

Thank you so much for the comment!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

One of the things I love so much about your writing is how you make connections between events and ideas that at first glance seem to have nothing in common. Although I knew the *stumble upon* George Washington story, I'm not sure I would ever have made the connection either with the word serendipity or the discovery of penicillin. For me, the word connotes only happiness and pleasant surprise, probably because I first became aware of it during a happy experience. Somehow, war and germs just don't ring the same bell.

Christoph, you keep our brain cells well-exercised, and I guess that's because yours are hot and hopping all the time.

Thank you for another wonderful read. Your loyal and adoring fan, Sally.


Pam Roberson profile image

Pam Roberson 7 years ago from Virginia

You sir are hubalicious. Yes indeed. You always deliver, and it's incredibly fulfilling each and every time.

Like Joe, I nearly flunked history, and I never took French, but I do know what "Voulez-vouz coucher avec moi" means because I listened to the Pointer Sisters back in the 70's. lol!

I too loved the British/French dialog! That had me spewing my coffee. :D I don't care if the story was a hoax or not, I just enjoyed reading a super fine hub.

Wow, I'm so sorry to hear about the food poisoning. :( I've heard that it can make you incredibly sick. :( Yet here you are hubbing along, moving forward, and keeping your chin up. Well done Christoph. :) Hope you're back to feeling 100% soon. Take care!


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

-Christoph, great piece.  It finally gave me a clear understanding of serendipity is.  I'd heard the word all my life, of course, but had never taken the time to look up it's meaning.

Now that I know, it would seem that serendipity is more a part of our lives than I ever imagined!  I believe I am living a (very long) serendipity moment in the making...

Thank you!  I love learning something new.


cflynn profile image

cflynn 7 years ago from Ireland

great hub great information. did you know many medications were discovered by serendipity...such as Viagra. It was being tested as an antihypertensive when trial participants reported some 'side effects'!!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Hilarious Hub Christoph, and I too loved the French/English dialogue you wrote, very funny indeed.

Sixty, I think you are being very insulting calling Christoph's legs 'frog's', he can't help the shape they are!!!!


rat rod | rat rods 7 years ago

serendipity for sure. I love this post.


B.T. Evilpants profile image

B.T. Evilpants 7 years ago from Hell, MI

Excellent hub! I have read some Walpole, and I still didn't know that he coined that word. It's a shame your bubble was burst by the hoax. If it helps, I know an elderly couple who go to a lot of auctions and estate sales. They purchased a vacuum at auction, and claim that when they got it home, they found $20,000 in the bag. How's that for dirty money? Of course, I never saw the vacuum, or the money.


B.T. Evilpants profile image

B.T. Evilpants 7 years ago from Hell, MI

By the way, I consider finding Hubpages to be something of a serendipitous event.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Sally: Thank you for visiting. It's always great to see you (and as you know, I am now your double-fan!) I must confess that the Washington thing is a little forced, only because the event happened the same year the word was coined. It kind of works, doesn't it? Perhaps the lesson that a string of events that are slightly serendipitous can lead to a giant one, in this case, Washington being instrumental in outing the British, the formation of the USA, and his becoming President. (I should know I can't slip anything past you!) Hey, you could be writing articles like, "Me, Blair, and a Bowl of Porridge." Hardly has the same ring as you current masterful work!

Thanks for that about my brain cells being "hot and hopping." Most of the time, I feel only befuddled and addled!

Your kind words and encouragement is always kept in a special place, a little file I keep locked away, and when my brain has sputtered its last, I will take out the file and read what you have written, hoping to remember the special feelings you always gave me.

Yours truly,

Chris

Pam: Hubalicious! Wowza! Suddenly my infantile French vocabulary, packed with sexual innuendo, excapes me!

You are too kind (no, really.) Of course, that Pointer Sister's song has been playing in my mind ever since I wrote this. I must admit I got a chuckle out of it too, and the sillier it got, the more I liked it, even though I knew it was not in line with the rest of the piece. But as has been pointed out, when writing, I tend to ingnore the "road closed" signes and drive down them anyway.

I'm glad I could make you spew coffee. I just hope it didn't go on your keyboard or through you nose, which can be unpleasant experiences!

Thanks you for saying such kind things. Coming from you, they mean a great deal to me. And Yes, I'm feeling much better at the moment: just like I've had a fist-fight and lost. Thanks!

Constant: Glad that was cleared up for you. I had never really looked it up either, so I learned something too.

Nice to read your comment. I appreciate your positivity! Thank you!

Cflynn: Thanks for reading! Viagra, huh? I don't think I knew it was an accident. So were Post-it Notes. One of the scientists was trying to make the best glue ever. It was a failure as the glue barely worked at all. Thanks for the comment!

Misty: Thanks for stopping by. Glad I could make you laugh!

In Sixty's defense, I think he was referring to them tasting good when deep-fried. Just like chicken!

Rat-rod: Thank you for the comment! I appreciate it!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

B.T.: Thanks for reading and leaving a comment. I like the vacumn story. My personal one is I find a duffle bag stuffed with cash (probably drug money--but I don't care where it comes from!) Aw, heck, I would probably just use it to buy drugs.

I too consider Hubpages as part of my Serendipity, and I think this is a feeling shared by many hubbers.

I once heard a story where a jackalope relocated to a new part of the forest. He found that several of the hollowed-out tree trunks were stuffed with butter tarts!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 7 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Christoph, your brain is far from sputtering its last.  You must be feeling terribly icky.  So I add my wishes to those of your other fans that you get over this tummy ailment.  Please don't talk about us in the potential past tense, as in, *when my brain has sputtered its last*.  It's creepy.  I know you have at least eight lives left, no matter what your cat did to you or you did to the cat. And the proof is your being my double-fan. I fully expect you to renew that commitment at least three more times. (You see, I'm building in some space for events that happen to you which have nothing to do with me.)


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Sally: Creepy? And here I was trying to be poetic. (Yep...it must be the food poisoning talking.)

Thanks for your well-wishes. I'm feeling better, really!


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

Food poisoning is defnitely not a lot of fun...but eventually it does work its way out. :) Sorta...

So what bit of nastiness did you ingest?


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Hi Spryte! I believe it was a bite of raw ground turkey. Had already swallowed the first bite. I was already doomed!


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Yuk, how did that happen Christoph, surely all Turkey is cooked right through??? (was it Gobbling?)


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

I'm not sure what you mean. The turkey is not walking around at the turkey farm all cooked already, just waiting for us to come along and take a bite. No, it comes raw, like hamburger. I cooked it and did not cook it all the way through, although I thought I had. I seldom make such a mistake, but there you have it.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Whoops, now I see what you mean, ("ground turkey" is not an expression we hear in the UK normally). LOL, I now have this wonderful vision of a fully cooked and stuffed turkey wandering around the turkey farm thanks to you :) :) :)


B.T. Evilpants profile image

B.T. Evilpants 7 years ago from Hell, MI

Ooh! Turkey sushi! I love that stuff!! In fact, I enjoy walking around turkey farms, biting the turkeys.


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

LOL, Love the hub, Love the french/ english banter,love the comments. Now I will probably be thinking of turkeys walking around cooked and stuffed for the rest of my life. That's too funny.

Hope you are feeling better soon Christoph. Great hub!


mcarolyn profile image

mcarolyn 7 years ago from Philippines

Maybe serendepity still happens in real life but it depends upon the person on how he handle his life. Fortune comes in an unexpected time.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Misty: I didn't mean to mislead you. We DO have the "Already Cooked Turkey" farms here in the states. You just bring you own stuffing, put it right up their bums, and yum!

B.T. Yea, it reminds me of the time I had the pork liver tar-tar.

Gwendy: You are a stranger to me, and yet you look vaguely familiar. Have we met? Was it in another life. In any case, I hope we can be friends. Thanks you for reading my article. It's always nice to have somebody new come by.

Ok, just pulling your turkey leg. (Not that your legs look like turkey legs...I'm sure they are very nice human legs!) It's so nice to see you. We must chat sometime soon!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

mcarolyn: Of course it does, and you're right, it should be handled in a proper way. Thanks for the comment.


countrywomen profile image

countrywomen 7 years ago from Washington, USA

I personally like that movie serendipity and the ending in NY snow is so romantic. I love that movie. Actually I heard serendipity many times in scientific discoveries like penicillin, Benzene molecular structure, Archimedes principle but again they were the products of sub conscious minds working continuously at times.


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

CR I now have visions of your tummy bug, Coffee being spewed ( not necessarily by you) and stuffed turkeys running around pre-cooked Turkey farms being chased by garlic and herb Frogs legs from the frog farm next door!

@ Misty Btw my allusion was, as correctly interpreted by Christpohe, of the gourmet sort. Far be it for me to comment on his legs as the only picture of them available on hub pages was with his baby Christophe Avatar and those were still in their infancy rather than in his adultery!


gwendymom profile image

gwendymom 7 years ago from Oklahoma

CR, I deserved that comment. I really am going to try harder to be back on here more than I have been lately. I hope my legs don't look like turkey legs, hmm I better investigate that some more, maybe buy a razor. Glad to see the whole gang right here. I have missed you all terribly, In my defense though I have been trying to get in shape and it it killing my poor out of shape body and then that connects to my brain who is pissed at me for making my body hurt and won't cooperate with me at all. It will get better soon, or at least that is what I keep telling myself.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Speak to Spryte Gwendy, she reckons the best way to get fit now is to buy a Wii :)

Christoph, I hope they introduce such wonderful cooked turkey farms here in Guernsey so I can chase the critters round and stuff them with my own favourite stuffing recipe.

Sixty, "rather than in his adultery!". Has Christoph been committing this crime even with an upset stomach???


Constant Walker profile image

Constant Walker 7 years ago from Springfield, Oregon

Gwendy, it will quickly get easier.  I promise!  Pretty soon you'll be wanting to take it up a notch because what you're currently doing (I'm assuming it's a work-out of some sort) is starting to get boring.

In no time you'll be looking like "All that and a sports-bag of health bars!"


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

CW: I've always liked the story of penicillin and it's serendipitous discovery. You sound like a very learned individual. Thank you for stopping by and sharing some of your intellegence with us!

Sixty: I figured as much!

Gwendy: Ah, I'm just making things difficult. I think that an exercise program is a good thing, and I know exactly what you are talking about. It will get easier, and you'll feel great so keep it up. That is more important than hanging out here and you deserve our support and encouragement. In the big scheme of things, we do not matter, and I'm not being feci...fesee...I was going to use the word fececious if I knew how to spell it.

Seriously, You keep it up. We'll still be here.

Misty: Yes, the pre-cooked Turkey farms are a wonderful thing. Why, I can remember when I was young, chasing them around the yard with my knife and fork clutched in my tiny hand, my bib secured around my neck. Ahh...good times.

Constant: I second that.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

I bet you gave them a really good stuffing when you caught them too didn't you Christoph ??


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

How did you hear about that.


mistyhorizon2003 profile image

mistyhorizon2003 7 years ago from Guernsey (Channel Islands)

Ahhh, wouldn't you like to know :)


pgrundy 7 years ago

Here I am late to the party as usual--I hope someone saved me a drink and a Citroen! C'est bon, Christoph!

I dated a guy who owned three Citroens once. He took me back to his apartment, turned on all the overhead lights, and went to put something nice on the stereo. Guess what it was? Favorite Speeches of Franklin Delano Roosevelt! I wish I was making that up. Anyhoo, hoax or not, I'm holding out for that serendipitous big break. It's true--you just never know what's around the corner. Great hub, as usual.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Pam: That is so full of pathology I don't know what to say (I'm not sure even what it is a pathology OF!) Are you sure bright lights and FDR didn't make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside (besides nausea, I mean?) He would have gotten along well with a psychological therapist I dated. Very early on, she asked--out of the blue, of course--"Do you love me?" I took a little too long to answer. She grabbed a deck of cards, dealt out a hand of solitaire and started playing. The symbolism was not lost on me. Finally, after several minutes of silence except the flipping of the cards, I asked, "Do you always play solitaire when your angry?" To which she replied, "Why? Are you feeling...LEFT OUT?" I coulda died! Nobody needs a therapist as much as a therapist!

Anyway, I too will humbly await my moment of serendipitous fortune. It happens to jerks. Why not a couple of nice people like you and me.


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Tres bien, Monsieur Reilly! I could've told you the biggest, baddest French word, but this is an international site, so it might've gotten you into trouble. Besides, I don't know what it means. I dated a French Canadian guy for four months and he told me that it was the worse word you could use, but refused to tell me the meaning. Yes, it's that bad.

Um, perhaps you could explain to me how some of those Frenchies got left behind in Quebec? I guess we have Washington to thank for Poutine?

I'm with Spryte about the word Serendipity...serendipitous - love the sound, those words just trip lightly across your tongue and mind. I also really like Ticonderoga, Tattamagouce, and wicked, though I seldom use any of them.

Too bad about that barn thing being a hoax. I hope all of our serendipitous events are real. I could use a bunch right now.

Great hub, Christoph. Your dialogue and delivery are second to none.


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

You guys crack me up!  I leave you for a few moments and you somehow go from raw ground turkey food poisoning to solitaire slinging psychotic psychologists.  Phew...that was a mouthful.

I trust you are feeling better now, Christoph?

Still no Wii...but I've been assured that it's in the works and as soon as one becomes available, it is mine.  Of course there are a few million other people being promised the same thing...so we'll see just how long I have to wait.

In the meantime, I'm acquiring cat #6 this evening.  He's a six month old orange tiger and will be named Harley.  What can I say...I'm a sucker for a stray and all of our friends seem to know that.  :) 

What the heck is Tattamagouce? (too lazy to even look it up on the web)


pgrundy 7 years ago

ROTFL! I wonder if she stalked her patients!

You know, that would make a good hub--or maybe a better forum thread. "Worst dates ever." The winner could get a prize or something--Maybe a free date with that therapist or the Citroen guy! LOL!

I agree, we are both due for some serendipitous good fortune. It's just around the corner for each of us, I'm sure of it :o)


Bruce Elkin profile image

Bruce Elkin 7 years ago from Victoria, BC Canada

Thanks Christoph. I like pieces that debunk "barns in portugal" stories. So many folks are searching for pot at the end of the rainbow -- the big, unearned, score -- and coming up empty.

I have a friend who buys lotto tickets. $20+ / month. Has been for over 30 years. I figured that if he'd just put that same money each week into Canada Savings Bonds, he'd now have about $2 million in his nest egg.

Yeah, he said, but look at all the hope i'd of lost! Go figure!


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Spryte, Tatamagouce (only one 't', I spelled it wrong above) is a small town in Nova Scotia. It's near Pugwash.

Only in Canada. By the way, in case you're wondering, it is pronounced,

tata ma gooch


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

Shirley:

I was in Novia Scotia once...but don't remember that particular town...or Pugwash for that matter. It was absolutely delightful and the people talked really oddly. :) I had a small go 'round with one gent that kept confusing my request for "10" as in the highway with his interpretation that I was looking for "town." It was hilarious...sort of like "Who's on First?" and took us a while to unravel.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Shirley: I must know the biggest, baddest French word! As for French guys staying in Quebec, they were probably trappers and didn't want to leave the abundant beaver (which Quebec is still known for--especially on the wrong side of town.)

I like the word serendipitous too, as well as the other words you mention. But "wicked" doesn't quite seem to fit with the others. For me, its kukamunga, calabash, and constipation (not really--I couldn't think of anything else!)

The hoax part is too bad, but I was sort of amused at my own gullabillity. And thanks for the compliment!

Spryte: I am feeling much better, and with a new, sharp haircut, I am the debonair, urbane individual you would expect (of course it's an illusion, but that's what I do!)

I hope you acquire your WII soon and can't believe you are acquiring yet another cat! Could you tell me the brand names of your cat food and litter? I'm looking for a new investment!

PGrundy: They would have certainly been a pair (a pair of what, I don't know.) It would make a good hub, or a short story, and how they found true love when they found each other.

Gotta be...some ser-en-dip-i-ty. I need it bad! Ha!

Bruce Elkin: I agree that you can't count on it. In defense of your friend, however, I have on occasion purchased $5.00 worth of tickets, and I get $5.00 worth of entertainment by planning what I will do with the money. It's cheaper than a movie!

Shirley: Pugwash is as good as Tatamagouse!


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

Fresh Step and uh...Purina Cat Chow...I think? :P I'm not CREATING these kittens and cats, just simply taking them in and giving them a home. I think they'd still require food at the shelter.

Harley is turning out to be a surprising little tough guy. Five cats and a small dog are following him constantly around the house to stare at him...and he stands his ground growling and hissing at them to let them know he is gonna tear them apart if they get too close. Which is rather adorable when you consider he's only 5 months old and a stiff breeze would blow him over. I have to admire that sort of chutzpah!

I bet you do look very dapper in your new do! Women everywhere can appreciate how a visit to the local hairdresser can work wonders for our state of mind and body :P And if you are anything like my husband...he is very adamant about who touches his hair and who doesn't. For a cowboy type...he's rather metrosexual when it comes to his hair...

Off to bed now! N'nite!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Spryte:  Really?  They feed them at the shelter???  Well, smear me with bear grease and drop me in the lions pen!  I had no idea!  Come on, I just don't know what BRAND they use.  It was a just a bad joke, which is getting worse by the minute.  Same brands we use, by the way.  But no wet, canned food too?  My cat is so spoiled!

Well, he sounds like a tough little Hell's Angel and I'm sure he's cute as can be. It is pretty brave of him, being new and so young and little.  He must be carrying!

I'm pretty adamant about being touched in general, but not so much my hair.  I do have to wet it down and re-comb it immediately after a cut though.  It just never looks or feels right until then.

Thanks for dropping in!  I'm honored.  Gosh, when you get your WII, we may never see you again!


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

So now we have moved from turkeys to bear lions, cats and hairdo's I 'm afraid I can't keep up.

@Misty I am pleased you caught the grammatical Bon mot ( my french is not so great Au revoir for now until we pass the sil vous plait (for collection?)


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK

Hi Chris,

I once worked with a guy who told me a tale of how he went to view a flat in London in the 70s. He and his wife were allowed to poke around on their own as the flat was empty, and in a cupboard were some old paintings. My colleague was quite into art, and he flicked through the pile out of curiousity. All but one were of little merit, but the one that was interesting was VERY interesting. It was a signed Rossetti. Sadly Patrick and his wife were not interested in the flat, so they didn't buy it, and they decided to not mention the painting to the agent, but to leave it for someone else to claim/steal/discard/you fill in the blank! My jaw dropped when he told me this tale. What a moral dilemma!

Thanks for an entertaining hub, and for reminding me of Patrick and his close brush with (almost) serendipitous fortune! 


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Sixty: Your French is as good as mine.

Amanda: Wow! It was almost true. I think I might have asked if I could buy the paintings, but who's to say what one would or wouldn't have done under similar circumstances.

Thanks for coming by and the tale!


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Oh, I LIKE Kukamunga very much!! I said that I like the word wicked, when, in truth it's part of a story title that I like: Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury. I've just always liked that title, wish I'd thought of it first.

Re the names of tiny towns on the Canadian east coast, we got a million of 'em: Little Heart's Ease, Peggy's Cove, Five Houses, Five Fingers, Old Barns, the list goes on and on. Some of the names are really quaint, others - like Ha Ha, leave you scratching your head and make you wonder what the settlers were drinking and smoking at the naming ceremony. Tatamagouche is one the Indian names, most of which I can't pronounce, and I'm not even sure I'm spelling them correctly.

Spryte - You're doing better than I am, I've never been in another province. That's funny about the 10 and town. The easterners have an accent that sounds sort of....I dunno, Irish, maybe. A lot of them are of Irish and Scottish descent. When I'm in the States, I'm often told that I have an accent (silly Americans, I do not) and that we say, "aboot" instead of "about". Not true except for easterners, they say it that way.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Shirley: Thanks for the link. I checked it out. It doesn't sound so bad. I mean, I've been called worse things.

I like those kinds of town names. Of course, the town doesn't always live up to the image the names invoke.


Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

You're right, Christoph, it doesn't.  So, why won't they say it?  Why is it the worst?  They're a funny bunch and they don't talk to us Anglophones much.  I had never looked it up before, I'd forgotten about it.  Now, I know too.

If I may offer some advice?  If you happen to visit any of the French speaking regions of Canada, I wouldn't say that word.  They take it very seriously.  Ya know, we still don't have an exact translation of the word.

Many of the little towns out east have names that relax you just hearing them, but for the life of me, I can't remember them right now.  Anyway, from what I've heard and seen, they are just simple towns full of simple folks who welcome anybody into their homes.  If you're a stranger, they'll put you up for the night, feed you, give you the run of their houses.  They don't lock their doors.  It's a poor region of Canada, mostly because fishing is their mainstay, but the people have a wonderful reputation.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Shirley: OK. I won't say it to any French people if I happen to come upon any.

Those towns sound just like I would want them to be: Quaint, friendly, always free with a kind word or a "hello." I would occasionally find myself out in the country and the people were always nice and friendly. Willing to stop and have a chat. It can really be charming. I'm sure, too, that a fishing village has quite a different feel. I have never been to one, and have always wanted to, but I don't know why.


sheenarobins profile image

sheenarobins 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Am just here to see the score soaring high. Im watching you, Im watching you, christoph! lol

I'm in the habit of watching hubs I like to hit 100. hehehe


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

sheenarobins: Well, thank you! I'm afraid you'll have quite a long wait for this one to hit 100! Ha, ha!

Thanks for stopping in and the comment! (Thanks for watching me so closely! Oooo.)


ripplemaker profile image

ripplemaker 7 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Hi Christoph, I love the word serendipity, also the movie. Have you watched it? :) It's a feel good kind of a thing. And well, I'm a romantic at heart. :D


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

ripplemaker: I have not seen the movie, but I will keep my eyes open for it! Thanks for the tip (everyone can always use a "feel good" type of thing!

I'm a romantic at heart too!


spryte profile image

spryte 7 years ago from Arizona, USA

Christoph:

Of course my furry friends get wet canned food too, just not as often as they'd like. Jack won't eat wet food...and Harley doesn't seem to be adamant about it...but the other four get mighty upset when 6 p.m. rolls around and Dad has not delivered unto them the succulent morsels.

I finally got my Wii. Just the basic box with the "Games" and "Sports." We're waiting for the "Fit" to arrive still. My buttocks feel firmer already. I'd offer to let you check...but you'll just have to take my word for it. Surprisingly, my beloved...who scoffed at the entire thing when I said I wanted one, has been having a ton of fun playing on it too. Now I have to split my time even more...but at least Wii is proving to be beneficial. Dang...I have a lot of energy after playing that thing!


Lifebydesign profile image

Lifebydesign 7 years ago from Australia

'coucher aveced'- serependous! May you continue to enjoy heaps of serendipity Christoph. Great hub too.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Spryte: It certainly sounds like the WII can be good exercise, and that's always a good thing.

Yes, I would like to check the firm buttocks situation, but under the circumstances, will have to take your word for it.

LifebyDesign: Thank you for stopping by! For the life of me, I can't find out what "aveced" means.

I appreciate your comment. May we all have some serendipitous good fortune.


Lifebydesign profile image

Lifebydesign 7 years ago from Australia

okay now you're kidding right? lol. Seeing as you speak Franglais way more than I. "Avec" as in with. So "withed", maybe as in "writhed with" the ah..."couch"? haha... I do crack myself up sometimes.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Lifebydesign: Oh. It was the past tense (ed) that was throwing me. And, no, I don't really speak "Franglais" or French either! Ha!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Lifebydesign: Oh...I get it! You're referring to our conversation the other day! Ha, ha! That IS funny! Almost slipped right by me!

Thanks for coming by! We've got to stop meeting like this. And about that "couch." LOL


Lifebydesign profile image

Lifebydesign 7 years ago from Australia

Christoph, you are way funnier than I, but thank you for so graciously, and in true gentleman fashion, coming to my assistance. Merci.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

My pleasure! Beaucoup!


sixtyorso profile image

sixtyorso 7 years ago from South Africa

Ooh la la anozzer ub page romanz no!


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Sixty: Sacre bleu. How do you say...in your language....umm...Non.

You sir, are zee troublemaker. Oui? I think zee has zee ubber romance, non? Who is zee girl with zee...je nais se quoi?


yxhuang profile image

yxhuang 7 years ago from California

I learn a new word by reading this hub. And the story is hilarious. I don't mind having a dream to own a barn like that. Thanks for sharing.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

yxhuang: Thanks for stopping in. Glad you found it funny. I don't mind having the dream either! Thank you for the comment!


Chef Jeff profile image

Chef Jeff 7 years ago from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago.

Another great ditty from a great writer of hubs! Thanks!

Cheers, Chef Jeff


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Thanks, Chef!


Patricia Costanzo profile image

Patricia Costanzo 7 years ago from Behind the Redwood Curtain

Finding you on hubpages Christoph, was serindipidous.

I enjoyed this. A little knowledge, a little insight and a little laugh. Nice way to start the day.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

And a lovely comment from you is the perfect way to start my day, Ms. Costanzo! Thank you!


Benson Yeung profile image

Benson Yeung 7 years ago from Hong Kong

Ooops, I almost missed this one. Thanks heaps for reminding me to dream the right amount, and not excessively.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 7 years ago from St. Louis Author

Hi Benson. Thanks. I was just thinking about you yesterday, thinking it had been a long time since I had seen you around. In fact, I was going to leave a comment for you today. Now that's serendipitous!


AEvans profile image

AEvans 6 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

How in the world did I miss this one? I will remember to dream and I do believe in "Serendipity.":)


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis Author

Thanks, AE! Nice to see you! I haven't been around much, but I'll be back! Ciao!


Enlydia Listener profile image

Enlydia Listener 6 years ago from trailer in the country

I love the word serendipity....a beautiful word full of lots of possibilities.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 6 years ago from St. Louis Author

Enlydia: It is and there are. Thank you for reading and the comment.


PaperNotes profile image

PaperNotes 5 years ago

I think that people who come up and create such hoaxes are out of their minds. This world is indeed full of deceptions that we need to uncover for us to see the real thing.


Christoph Reilly profile image

Christoph Reilly 5 years ago from St. Louis Author

PaperNotes: Yes. We are so eager to believe things we want to believe, and sometimes don't give them the proper scrutiny.

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