A Beginner’s Guide to Sod’s Law and Handbag Voodoos.

English: From Mal Corvus Witchcraft & Folklore...

One of the rare voodoos I do not have in my handbag. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When kids turn up at the door to sell me raffle tickets, my eyes glaze over. I dutifully buy a ticket in the full knowledge that I will never win the basket of goodies, let alone the holiday in Ibiza with massages and breakfast in bed. (That sentence was ambiguous. You wouldn’t get the two simultaneously, of course. They never give prizes like that in PTA raffles.) I’ve also got used to the idea that as I scratch the free game card at the supermarket cash-out and read “LOST”, I will invariably hear Wonder Woman squeal with delight as she wins Prince Charming, a Mercedes-Benz and an all-expenses paid shopping trip to Milan at the next till down.

I don’t have any issues with that. After all, I do win more often than Wonder Woman in more incongruous stakes. Like the day two gypsies stole just one bag amidst thousands on the beach, leaving a one lucky young lady miles from home with no worldly possessions other than her bikini bottoms. As regular readers know, the winner was … me. Here are a few more examples of my wins in what I call “the reverse luck stakes” .

  • When a car travelling down the M27 hit the central reservation and flipped up in the air like a giant tiddly-wink before slowly tumbling out of the sky into oncoming traffic, its driver (or should I say “pilot”) probably glimpsed the determined face of a girl who was muttering obscenities as she floored the accelerator and willed her VW Beetle to get the hell out of his landing strip. That girl was me.
  • When I was taken to watch my first (and last) football match, I didn’t see any football. I witnessed the worst stadium-related tragedy in the history of British sport instead.
  • When our local budding arsonist decided that setting light to wheelie bins was no longer enough to satisfy what would could be described as a burning desire for flames, he gave in to temptation and set light to one of the hundreds of cars parked along our avenue. Technically speaking, the car wasn’t mine… it was on loan from my employer.
  • To crown it all, breaking news: PF is presently stuck on an island somewhere off the coast of Africa because the local petrol stations have gone on strike. No petrol, no boat. No boat, no airport. If the family silverback doesn’t manage to get on the plane home next week, I will end up corresponding with a disgruntled, long-haired, modern-day Robinson Crusoe dressed in zebu skin who has shacked up in the trunk of a baobab tree and is sharing bananas with the pet lemur on his shoulder.
Tarzan, Lord of the Jungle

PF calling MM from Baobab HQ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have drawn the conclusion that the slimmer the chances of misfortune are for others, the more likely the predicament becomes for me. These “reverse luck stakes” lead me to check the sky from time to time in case there is a block of frozen airline waste beelining through the stratosphere with my name on it. After all, if only five people have been hit by these urine-saturated meteorites over the last 40 years in the UK, that means that I run a pretty high chance of going down in family history as the girl who was clocked on the head by St Peter’s giant frozen kidney stone.

Sod’s law is intricately linked to another law of possibilities that I call the “handbag voodoo law”. Handbag voodoos are all the things you cart around in your bag that you never seem to need. This lorryload of crap seems to protect you from the wrath of the sod’s law gods, who vent their spleen on you as soon as you leave any of said “useless items” at home.

When my kids were small, I would chuck a spare change of clothes for them into my bottomless handbag. It would fester in the collection of biscuit crumbs, keys, supermarket receipts and biros for months on end until I finally emptied my bag and strode out of the door with my child, forgetting the change of clothes. This immediately sparked the demon on my child’s shoulder into action, and they would promptly either pee their pants, drop their drink down their fronts or throw up.

My mobile phone never rings until I forget it at home. I invariably return to snotty messages from school saying that my child has a temperature and that they couldn’t contact me. The “handbag voodoo” law applies to many other things: Aspirin. Tissues. Biros. Hair bands. Gloves. Elastoplast. Sunglasses. Hand cream. Screwdrivers… The list is endless, and yesterday’s missing handbag voodoo was the lip balm. It had knocked around in my bag until the lid fell off months ago and it ended up welded to my checkbook. So I made the mistake of chucking it away and not replacing it.

English: Gladrags and handbags! A giant handba...

A bag big enough to contain all necessary handbag voodoos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fast forward to yesterday, when MM was kicking her heels on the beach with Smelly Dog for the day whilst Bigfoot jumped through hoops for the French military service. The Sod’s Law Gods inspected the contents of my handbag, got their heads together and handed things over to Zeus. The wind picked up, and sand and salt stung my face and dried out my lips. Within two hours, I felt as dried out and wrinkled as a sun-dried tomato and was licking my lips more often than Hugh Hefner at a lingerie show.

So when I got home, I ran to the bathroom, stuck my hand in the cupboard and pulled out the first lip balm I saw. I hastily slathered a huge, comforting layer of it all over my stinging, smarting lips, then hit the sack.

Now. Remember those reverse luck stakes? There is little chance of anyone being allergic to lip balm. Within this group, there is an infinitely small percentage of people who could physically react to a hypoallergenic, plant-based one. That person appears to be me. I woke up looking like a cross between Angelina Jolie and a Dunlop tyre, and have been yelling at Smelly Dog all day as I can no longer whistle.

Looking on the bright side of things, I won’t scare my husband, because he’s stuck under a baobab with the entire cast of “Madagascar”. Come to think of it, lip balm is a damn sight cheaper than Botox injections. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to rub it on my wrinkles.

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58 thoughts on “A Beginner’s Guide to Sod’s Law and Handbag Voodoos.

  1. Oops and mega oops. I hope the lips deflate and silverback makes it home. I am amazed at the amount of ‘junk’ women manage to carry in the bags. Mrs Sensible loves bags and we have 20 to 30 each with its own collection of junk.

    • PN! I was wondering where you’d got to 🙂 The silverback is not a happy chappy at all, fingers crossed that the petrol stations open again soon… I’m not a handbag fanatic – I have one huge hold-all with the Union Jack on it, that i call my Mary Poppins bag. I can fit everything in it, including the kitchen sink. 🙂

      • I went to the UK to stock up on bacon and T bags, walk in the rain and drink proper beer.

        It is very cold here and I have been busy with work so I haven’t had time to blog. Plus we are about to move house.

      • You lucky, lucky man. Hope you had a pint and a packet of Walkers Salt & Vinegar crisps for me. I’m glad you’re busy and well – what is going to happen to the Scooby Doo and Gilda duo if you move?

      • Gilda will stay with Luigina. I am not sure about the scabby white cat. I have suggested catnapping him, if we leave him here, he will not be fed properly. I think Mrs S is going to talk to the owners, they must know he is sleeping somewhere else and looking remarkably fat for an unfed cat.

  2. This is just hilarious… I now have a picture in my mind of a “giant frozen kidney stone” flying through the air… this is a great post…
    Come to Africa, expect the unexpected, it is one of those continents that can change the passage of any ones life… “a disgruntled, long-haired, modern-day Robinson Crusoe dressed in zebra skin who has shacked up in the trunk of a baobab tree and is sharing bananas with the pet lemur on his shoulder.” what a description… I love it…

    • Thank you, Bulldog! French islands seem to be governed by the same rules as France- temper tantrums and strikes being one of their specialities. In this case, it’s a tussle between the Petrol company that has the monopoly over the market in all the islands, and the government (who are trying to stop them from overpricing the petrol). Watch this space…

  3. People pay a lot of money to have inflated, Angelina Jolie-style lips, you should count yourself lucky!! I hope Silverback makes it back soon, but on the plus side, Zebu is delicious so I’m sure he’ll be ok!

    • Hmm. This could be a good money-spinner. I have discovered that it is very difficult to drink coffee (or indeed anything at all) with big lips like that. I understand why Angelina is so trim now. Spit-roasted zebu and chips. Yum.
      How is little Bee? Still besotted and sleep-deprived? 🙂

      • Oh dear… still, just keep telling yourself it’s fashionable! 😉

        We went to Madagascar for our honeymoon. I don’t eat fish, so I spent two weeks eating zebu and pretty much nothing else. Towards the end we went to a village where zebu were wandering around. I think they could smell their cousins on me as they all went crazy!

        Little Bee is awesome, thanks. She’s actually sleeping remarkably well so we’re not too bad. We’re either very lucky or she’s lulling us into a false sense of security…

      • Poor zebu. For them, it must have been like having Hannibal Lector turning up at the infant school fête 🙂
        I’m glad she’s sleeping. I always applied my Mum’s theory on sleep with tiny babies: when they sleep, you should sleep too. They all settle into a routine eventually – my three have all grown out of needing me at night. Just as well as Bigfoot towers over me now 🙂

  4. Handbag voodoos hahaha! Great post MM. I know sod’s law all too well. Happens to papers too, plus random bits and bobs hanging round the house. Chuck ’em out and you can bet it’ll be exactly what you need less than a week later.

    • Oh, papers. Don’t get me started on them. I was paranoid about my electricity bill for years – I was asked for it so often, I almost expected to be asked for it to prove I existed, even to buy underwear.
      Has your son done his “journée de la citoyenneté” yet? Sounds like a right rip-off organized to get kids to sign up for volunteer work and tell them how much they can earn if they join the army. Oh, and check if they can all recognize the French word on a screen (Bigfoot was in stitches at the number of teens who had little or no vocabulary).

      • No he hasn’t. He signed up for citoyenneté late anyway, by several months in fact, and only when he noticed he needed it to register for the Bac… so maybe they’ve forgotten about him… 🙂

        He’s in Montpellier today at the student fair to see if anyone can persuade him it’s fun doing law… Can’t see it meself… 🙂

    • The French call it ‘la loi de Murphy” – they have always preferred the Irish to the English 🙂
      Have you ever heard of “Muphry’s Law?” It is specific to my job, and dictates that any person who criticizes the spelling, grammar or syntax within somebody else’s work will inevitably make a mistake when writing to complain about it.

      • Well I first heard of Murphys Law when my dad kept referring to it. At the time I thought it meant being behind a very slow car and the one time you get to overtake there are a load of cars coming in the opposite direction.
        I have gone on to realise it does not just pertain to driving. 🙂

  5. Very funny post, enjoyed very much. But it left me feeling sad…I want you to find a tenner in last year’s winter coat or get upgraded to first class on your next holiday – and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you will! x Ps hope PF finds his way home soon 🙂

  6. I solved the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink handbag overload and neck ache by buying a smaller one. Now it won’t zip up, is bursting it’s seams and I’ve lost my sunglasses because they wouldn’t fit in it. Curses! Can you send me some of that wrinkle cream? It will make me feel better.

    • Embrace the carpet bag, hon. It swallows everything, even the children, shopping, and even weekend change of clothes.
      Poor sunglasses. I bet you’ll find them down the back of the passenger seat, don’t fret.

  7. Your handbag sounds like mine but my pen usually leeks all over my identity card, my lip balm melts and soaks into my phone and the spare “just in case” sanitary towel unwraps itself, sticks to my passport and ends up being handed to a nose-wrinkling passport policeman.

      • It must have been the autocorrect function on your computer. I know you would never have typed that. 😉 Oh, yes, the sanitary towel! I remember putting my hand in my bag and pulling a Tampax out of my bag to write a cheque at the British Rail ticket booth when I was a student, too – the poor man was puce.

  8. My husband’s theory is that I fill one handbag to bursting point, then abandon it and contents and buy another one….and I have to admit that he does have a point. Great fun looking through the series of handbags for the vital telephone number I haven’t needed for years but now do…urgently…

    • I love going through old bags – it’s a kind of paleolithic experience with flashbacks to earlier times… I like your husband’s theory. I suspect that you are on the war path, Helen, and I’m already rubbing my hands at the idea of what you’re going to brew up with those phone numbers 😀

  9. So sad (for you) … but so funny (for us). Suddenly I don’t feel so badly about not ever winning anything. At least I don’t attract the mean tempered gods 🙂 … well, if you don’t count the time I was in a hurry and grabbed what I thought were eye drops. It was liquid bandaid and I glued my eye shut. That wasn’t one of my better days!
    Nothing personal, but I hope you are never on one of my flights – I like uneventful travel 🙂

    • LIQUID BAND AID? 😀 You beat me hands down! Watch you don’t confuse the hair removal cream for toothpaste…
      Don’t be daft. I would love to sit next to you on the plane. We could count burning engines together 🙂

      • yaaa – I admit the liquid bandaid episode was not my finest moment and one that my husband isn’t likely to let me forget in this lifetime.
        You definitely don’t want me around in a crisis. You know the hysterical lunatic who doesn’t help matters with their panic – yup – my secret worry is that it would be me.

  10. Well, things can only get better, right? And don’t worry: I have never ever won anything either. Sad but true. And somehow, it is always in my car that London buses seem to bump into. Go figure. Maybe we are punished for something we did in another life?

    • You don’t either? Not even the bottle of ketchup at the school pick-a-ticket raffle? *Friend*!
      I have never been rammed by a double decker though. Maybe the Sod’s Law Gods are keeping that one for later 🙂

  11. 😆 If it makes you feel any better there are plenty of us out there that Zeus and family like to play dirty with. Only we can’t tell it quite like you do! What brand is that lip balm again?

  12. I cannot understand women with SMALL handbags…. what do THEY have in there…. I need a bag the size of an Easyjet allowance trolley… very funny lips (for us….) MM!

  13. I have never heard of anyone being allergic to lip balm, I feel dreadful for emitting a chuckle at your misfortune 😦 Maybe the good old fashioned joys of Petroleum Jelly might help??

    The line about Hugh Heffner had me sniggering into my coffee 😀

    Let me know if it works on the wrinkles though! You could be on to something there xx

      • I’m glad to hear it and that was probably a wise decision.

        For some reason your last two posts haven’t popped up in my Reader…it clicked this morning that I hadn’t seen you in a while and went searching for you instead. My friend Mike is having the same problem…I’m wondering if WordPress are experiencing some technical difficulties at the moment?? xx

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  15. I’ve come so late to this that I’m really hoping PF has been released from his tropical incarceration by now.

    I go though long periods of never winning anything, then win something terrible like a set of nylon pillowcases in a village raffle, before going back into the loser’s desert. i doubt i can recall anything to match your reverse winner’s haul, though. As for handbags, mine have in the past resemble doctor’s bags or plumber’s holdalls, but the recent op means I’m temporarily reduced to carrying a titchy little one with hardly anything in it and amazingly am coping with the deprivation. 🙂

    • PF managed to convince a policemand to let him have soon fuel, and he got home yesterday (he’s changed colour; it’s most disturbing to have a tanned man in the house in February!).
      Nylon? *shiver* Maybe you will come around to a world with no handbag at all soon…

  16. Quite the unexpected and somehow I got reminded about Robinson Crusoe!

    While you seem to have focused more on the handbag, the ‘mess needing to be cleared’ as one forgets one’s mobile hone, or for that matter other accompaniments like the glasses or the cross pen can indeed be probability defying. How do you suppose this occurs? Or could it be deep seated conspiracy that is plotted against you?

    Loved the post, encore please!


    • Hello Shakti, and welcome to my pad! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I have no s-doubt that being better organized would probably reduce the probability of the Sod’s Law Gods hitting on me, but hey, life’s fun that way.. 🙂

  17. Yet another very amusing take on real life!!! Glad PF and the lips are back to normal!! Have to say I am very close friends with Sod’s Law!! Carry everything everywhere ( got posture issues due to years of lugging heavy weight over left shoulder ) and the very day I actually need any of it is the day I cleaned out the handbag and left it at home 😦 Have also tried desperately hard to travel light but then get guilt issues when the very thing I need has been deliberately left behind…you just can’t win!!!

    • Maybe we should either embrace a life with no possessions (MM puts on John Lennon glasses) or stay at home to solve the problem. Maybe we should do a new Suffragette thing and symbolically burn our handbags?

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