Thursday February 17, 2005

The Cosmic Laugh Track

"May your life amuse the gods, Captain," I said cheerfully.
He raised one bushy black eyebrow. "That is not a greeting I have encountered before."
I pointed out that it was a worthy one and asked if he would prefer the hazards of boring them.
"Indeed, when you express the matter like that, then I see the wisdom in it."

      — Dave Duncan in "The Reaver Road"

The gods too are fond of a joke.

      — Aristotle

Rich and I believe in what we call The Cosmic Laugh Track. Some people talk about Murphy's Laws but The Cosmic Laugh Track is much more.

As a good example, there was the time I pulled into the driveway (having picked Rich's brother up after a conference in the South Bay) and he said "the ride seemed rough", then got out of the car to examine the tires and we discovered one sidewall had metal showing. That wasn't an instance of The Cosmic Laugh Track. Rather, The Cosmic Laugh Track would have come into play had I then driven anywhere but to the tire shop the next morning because, of course, the tire would have blown had I driven on it now that I knew. And we would have heard The Cosmic Laugh Track.


Then there was the three-act comedy a co-worker got himself into recently when the tutorial he had planned (the last of a series) was pre-empted and postponed for several weeks in a row. Finally, his to-do list was cleared of all urgent matters and the Class Was On for the following Wednesday! That is, until we arrived at the workplace that morning to discover there was a power outage (since 07:45). By the time power was restored at 2pm, the class had been (you guessed it) postponed again.


We heard The Cosmic Laugh Track loud and clear one Sunday last May. Rich and I had planned to have brunch with a friend at Todai (Japanese buffet). We hadn't considered that it was Mothers Day and certainly hadn't anticipated that Todai would have "special" hours (longer) and pricing (50% higher) in honor of the occasion. We were not amused (I was offended). Now had it been just us... but we had a friend with us. So what to do?

Rich suggested driving into The City... I said "At noon on Mothers Day?" Then we decided on a favorite diner, drove there and... of course, it was packed. With a waiting line. Yikes.

But in the car on the way across town I had an AhHa moment and thought "We'll have Eggs American Cafe!" So at the diner, I suggested to Rich and friend that they head back to our house while I went to the grocery store and we could eat at home! Happily, our friend is an agreeable sort. :-)

The Cosmic Laugh Track was still playing because, when I got to the store, there were only 2 croissants. Eggs American Cafe uses 1 large croissant per person and there were three of us.

But, as Rich said later, although the gods were chortling, I was still in the game because I found a pack of mini croissants in the bakery area. They were very small (about 2" across) but they were croissants. Then, over to produce where, wonder of wonders, I actually found three (nearly ripe) tomatoes and some asparagus. It took a while to locate the asparagus but I did find it. I picked up a few slices of real ham (if I'm gonna do this I'm gonna do it right) at the deli. Then, still feeling mildly put upon, I headed out to the parking lot to drive home.

I called Rich from the next stop light; that was a good thing, because he said "I forgot that I boiled up all of the eggs. You should buy some eggs". Did I hear another Cosmic Giggle there? Well, there's another grocery store between where I was and the house so, into that store I went to buy eggs. Had I But Known, I could have bought the tomatoes there; the second grocery store usually has ripe tomatoes.

At last I reached home where I asked Rich to help me put breakfast together. Eggs American Cafe is not difficult to prepare, far from it. But it is a complex dish requiring careful timing and some concentration. And, after all, it had been "one of those days".

In the event, everything turned out perfectly. The hollandaise (as usual :-) was perfect. The croissants were yummy (even the mini ones). The ham was great. The asparagus was plentiful. The gods were greatly amused. And we three had brunch. Finally.


(originally posted in commentary - vlb)

The Cosmic Laugh Track ( in category Odd Corners , Random Thoughts ) - posted at Thu, 17 Feb, 16:30 Pacific | «e»

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