The Jinx Effect

Today I want to tell you about The Jinx Effect. It is the severe and total hexing of myself to maximize annoyance or disappointment. It goes beyond the simple, common types of jinxing, such as a downpour after washing my car or sitting in stalled traffic when I am in a hurry. It is more specific. It is more complete. It is more exasperating.

Here's how the Jinx Effect works: in the morning my wife emails me an article, such as the one she sent last week about brat bans. I read it and learn the details, in this case how certain upscale restaurants seek to eliminate uncontrolled, bratty children by restricting parents from bringing in kids under a certain age. I'm interested in the topic and decide, “This would be fun to explore in an essay.” An hour of research later, I go out to lunch at an upscale taco establishment. I'm present for no longer than forty-seven seconds when I encounter two separate parties with screaming toddlers occupying tables near me. Additionally, a three-year-old tyke trounces around my table yelling "buh-buh-buh" while his parent lazily chases after him between texting distractions. A fourth instance catches me by surprise when a stealth-child bullseyes my white shirt with salsa from I know not where.

As with most essays I write, last week's on brat bans required some inquiry. The Jinx Effect occurs when I am forced into first-hand research purely as a matter of coincidence. By the time I was spackled with tomato and cilantro, my investigation into banning bratty children from restaurants was complete.

Another story: Before I leave for work, my wife tells me she has a migraine. I tell her to get some rest and take it easy. Migraines, rest, and taking it easy are now on my mind. I get to work, and within five minutes, project demons from Hades break loose. Corralling and caging them requires super mental strength and focus. By noon I have a blood-vessel-breaking cranial pain from six months of stress jammed into a three hour package. I phone my wife during my lunch break; she is now feeling fine. I've just experienced headache transference. I've just experienced The Jinx Effect.

First comes the reference, then my interest, then I live the real life version. That is The Jinx Effect.

Here are some more examples of The Jinx Effect in action:

I'm not suggesting that my desire to travel to London caused the riots. I know cause and effect do not work that way. But I cannot comment on why The Gods have conspired against me. I only know they use The Jinx Effect as their tool.

As I write this, I'm sitting in that same taco establishment I referenced earlier, waiting for my lunch to be delivered. And I'm thinking about the brat ban article and the essay I wrote about it last week. I'm picturing my bright yellow shirt spackled with salsa by some nearby kid. As I look around for the pint-sized future culprit, a school bus filled with rowdy third-graders pulls into the restaurant parking lot.