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
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. email@example.com.