—a veritable font of knowledge ...
I have my doubts about a lot of things, but there is one thing that I am pretty emphatic about. What is it? The phrase, "shit happens." I consider it without question to be one of the best things that anyone has ever said—in the history of the entire freaking world.
Other people have tried to say it, for centuries, even the Bard. But no one ever quite captured it in the beautfully terse manner in which it appears in this recently-contrived aphorism.
The earliest version that I am aware of appears in the Bible:
Boast not thyself of to morrow, for thou knowest not what a day
may bring forth.
Some time later, Shakespeare took a stab at it:
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
This one may not pop out at you as quickly as the biblical version, but when you take a closer look at it, it is clearly evident that Hamlet was assuring his good friend Horatio that shit does indeed happen.
So both the Bible and Shakespeare, undoubtedly the primary pillars of Western literature, in their own way, solidly affirm the wisdom of this modern-day offering.
And where did it first appear? On nothing less than a lowly car bumper. One of the greatest things that anyone has ever said had its humble beginning as a bumper sticker, which is itself a sort of shit-happening of its own.
When I muse upon this, how something so significant can be expressed with only two words, I find myself in a state of virtual wonder.
I am of course much enamored of the fine art of being terse, enough to offer an essay on the subject, and I suppose that this essay can be viewed as a sort of companion to it.
Yes indeed, my brothers and sisters, shit happens. The Bible says so.
April 25, 2011