Dish­ing out po­etic jus­tice

> Karma en­sures that cos­mic fair­ness doesn’t just hap­pen in sto­ries or on the big screen but also in real life

The Sun (Malaysia) - - GOOD VIBES -

UH-OH. My son, after spend­ing his whole life in Mario world pick­ing up rows of spin­ning gold coins, is about to step into the real world. I’m wor­ried the shock may trau­ma­tise him.

“Dad, where’s all the money? All the gold coins that are sup­posed to be ly­ing around?” “Er, the Poke­mon took it.” Most adults fail to teach young­sters enough about re­al­ity. I make my kids watch old movies and ex­plain to them that there were no spe­cial ef­fects and we had to ac­tu­ally shoot, stab and run over bad guys all the time.

“In the orig­i­nal 1977 Star Wars, they had to blow up a planet, which is why old books list nine plan­ets but new ones have eight.”

One good thing about kids’ ap­petite for movies and games is that they learn that bad guys al­ways end up suf­fer­ing po­etic jus­tice, some­thing that those of us in the news busi­ness know hap­pens re­mark­ably of­ten in real life, too.

In the news­pa­per re­cently was a re­port about a man in the north­east­ern US state of Penn­syl­va­nia, who was an­noyed that his neigh­bour’s big old tree dripped sap on his car.

The an­gry man used a chain­saw to chop the tree down – and it fell right on top of his house, wreck­ing it.

The for­mal sci­en­tific term for this kind of thing is ‘karma strikes again’.

Karma also seems to have been present in the case of a US pris­oner who made a deathbed con­fes­sion.

Dy­ing of a heart at­tack, James Wash­ing­ton of Ten­nessee told a po­lice of­fi­cer that he had “to get some­thing off my con­science” and re­vealed that he had killed a woman 17 years ear­lier.

Karma ar­ranged for him to have a mirac­u­lous re­cov­ery to full health for his new 51-year jail sen­tence for mur­der.

And you prob­a­bly no­ticed that when An­gelina Jolie and Brad Pitt an­nounced that they were get­ting di­vorced, Pitt’s ex-wife Jen­nifer Anis­ton made one com­ment: “That’s karma.”

She clearly be­lieved that the god­dess of karma no­ticed that Ms Jolie stole her hus­band 11 years ago and waited pa­tiently to ar­range an im­plo­sion in her fam­ily.

It does seem to be true that cos­mic jus­tice can op­er­ate rather slowly, so my ad­vice is to keep a list of hoped-for vic­tims in case re­minders are needed.

Of­ten, karma uses hu­man hands to do her work.

An in­ter­net vi­ral video, show­ing the view from a motorcyclist’s hel­met, sees her pick­ing up garbage thrown out of the car win­dow by the mo­torist in front of her, and zoom­ing to catch up with the driver, and throw­ing it back in.

In one case, a bag con­tain­ing the rem­nants of a fast-food meal ex­plodes sat­is­fy­ingly over the driver’s lap.

But the peo­ple who suf­fer most from karma are those who at­tempt to ed­u­cate oth­ers. We are in­stantly pun­ished for mak­ing any ill-judged re­mark.

Me: “There’s no such thing as a stupid ques­tion.”

Stu­dent 1: “Did snakes evolve from ropes?”

Stu­dent 2: “Did Shake­speare write any­thing in English?”

Stu­dent 3: “Is there grav­ity in Aus­tralia?”

Me: “Okay, I’m wrong.”

Nury Vit­tachi is an Asi­abased fre­quent trav­eller. Send ideas and com­ments to life­style. nury@the­

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