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The World According to John

John W. Pinkerton


There are some elements of our lives that are probably pretty important but  we marginalize or ignore entirely.


My wife, bless her heart, has occasionally mentioned that I don't seem to worry much.  She's right.  The reason for that is that I don't have expectations.  My philosophy, if you can call it that, is to show up and see what happens.  It' really hard to be disappointed when you don't attempt to anticipate exactly what is going to happen.  It is what it is.

I've noticed a lot of young folks have “expectations.”  Perhaps they've never heard, “Man plans, and God laughs.”  My advice is to let expectations go: they’ll just cause you misery.


Luck is an important and often under appreciated aspect of our lives.  I've always been lucky.  Once again, my wife, bless her heart---once again---once commented, “You're the luckiest person.”  I agreed and added,  “I can't help it.” 

I think the only control that we have over luck is hard work.  The harder we work, the luckier we seem to be.  When I was offered the job of school librarian, I accepted it in spite of the fact that it would involve going to school to get a librarian degree to qualify me for certification---a process that would have been a pain in the backside, but  after a semester and a half of traveling about a hundred miles to Sam Houston, the state changed the requirement to simply taking a test…which I passed on my first effort.

Other than hard work, I know of no ways to improve it.  However, I have learned that pushing one's luck doesn't improve it, and it is best to relax and let it come---both good and bad.


Karma is as real as Hell.  Along with old age came illness.  I interpret this as nature's way of balancing out my luck.  I had so much good luck in my earlier years that it's time for some bad luck.  So be it.  Based on how I feel today, I think we've just about reached the balancing point.  Only a fool expects everyday to be sunshine and roses---get over yourself.

A Priori

A priori is the concept that folks can know things without experiencing them.  It's a fancy word for intuition.  I believe this concept is available to everyone, but some folks are more sensitive to it than others.  This is a concept which has aided me greatly as I've attempted to traverse the universe without coming to great harm.

I think intuition came naturally to me, and I suspect I sharpened this sense while visiting bars.  There it's called bar sense.

My intuition has mainly been applied to people.  I have often said, “I can make an accurate assessment of a stranger’s character from a hundred yards away.”  I often applied this gift to school administrators.  Often, while others were praising the new hires, I had my doubts…and unfortunately I was correct, but that is like shooting fish in a barrel.

At a meet-and-greet for candidates, I decided to speak to a fellow running for mayor.   As a courtesy, I introduced myself to the mayorial candidate.  He told me that he was in the real estate business to which I replied, “Well, that's almost a job.”  When asked why he was running, he replied that he saw potential in Somerville, and he expected that he would retire in our little town.   I responded by telling him a little story that began, “The last person I heard saying he was going to retire from here was a principle at our school.  A year later, he was fired.”  Enough said.   Funny, after his term he moved out of town.

My instincts or bar sense or a priori knowledge I have found to be very, very useful.  By the way, I didn't vote for him, the mayor, although he ran unopposed.

Now, I don’t know of any way to sharpen one’s intuition other than hanging around bars, but it’s probably worth the effort.


Coincidences happen.  When they happen, we are usually astonished or amused.  I've had a few.  I once ran into an ex-army friend who was from a Yankee state in a bar in Louisiana.  I went into the bar to find an old friend of mine.  It turns out that the Yankee fellow had taken the job of the friend I had gone into the bar to find who was at the moment serving time in the Navy Reserve.  It took me weeks to get my head back on straight.

Now, as to why coincidences happen, who knows, but I suspect there is more to coincidences than…coincidences.   Frankly, I've always welcomed them, but their usefulness, other than their entertainment value,  elude me.

I don’t know if any of this---the tips on expectation, luck, karma, intuition, and coincidences, will be of any usefulness to you, but remember life isn’t all brains and heavy lifting.