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Fate, Karma, and the Bee Gees
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A couple of weeks ago I strolled into my optometrist's office for my annual eye check. As I settled in for the usual short wait, I picked up a magazine, and noticed an article about the human brain that sounded interesting.

My optometrist has a nice, cozy office, with music coming from overhead speakers, comfortable chairs, and best of all, current magazines (unlike some medical offices, where I always enjoy reading about the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics in back issues of Sports Illustrated).

Here's the strange part: just as I get to the opening line of the article, where the author comments about how a particular song from the '70s - 'Staying Alive' by the Bee Gees - might spark a memory of specific clothing of the era, I hear the opening chords of (wait for it...) 'Staying Alive' by the Bee Gees.

It was such a dramatic coincidence of timing that as I actually read the words, 'Staying Alive,' the song began playing.

It took me a moment to realize the music was coming from the speakers and hadn't been reverberating in my head due to the magazine article - disco, like most irritating music, has a way of sticking in your craw - as the lyrics started.

What are the odds? As I pointed out to a colleague, something as simple as a person in a crosswalk crossing in front of my car during my drive to the optometrist's would have thrown off the timing. Or, the receptionist could have been on the phone, or I might have parked in a spot a few feet away from the one I picked. Perhaps I might have taken an extra moment flipping through the pages of the magazine, trying to find the story I wanted to read.

Any number of events could have prevented this quirk in the universe.

Naturally, as I shared this story with others at the paper our discussions turned to the matter of fate and karma.

I'm not a believer in fate, where people believe "things happen for a reason." Like most who have had careers in law enforcement or the military or any other job where random violence is routine, I can't find a reason for some of the indiscriminate events I've witnessed.

And karma, where we expect to see those who have wronged others receive their just desserts? It usually never comes to fruition, as those of us with a sense of justice wished it would.

Obviously, those cases where people can point out where the deliciousness of the cause and effect of a person's wrongdoing warm the heart. The robbery suspect who accidentally shoots himself in the foot, for example, always brings a sense that all is right with the world.

But really, how often does this happen?

One of my coworkers brought up a great point. She said she tends to believe in fate when something good happens in her life, but discards this belief when something bad occurs.

Another coworker tends to take a long view on karma, explaining if justice isn't served in this world, it will be dealt out in the next.

I also discovered that everyone seems to have had an experience similar to my optometrist visit, or some other sort of fate or karma encounter in their lives.

In fact, let me know if you've had an incident in your life that you attribute to fate or involved bizarre timing. Or, on the other hand, relate an experience where karma might have righted a wrong. If I receive enough responses, I'll print the best stories I receive in a future column. (My contact information is at the end of this column).

In the meantime, anyone know how to get the Bee Gees out of your head