By Corinne Wnek
In that old sitcom, The Honeymooners, whenever Ralph Kramden was outsmarted by his wife, he would make a fist and yell out to her in utter frustration, “One of these days, Alice, pow! Right in the kisser!” New York Jets coach Rex Ryan must have felt a little like the frustrated Ralph after last week’s devastating loss to Pittsburgh. Only this time it was the Steelers telling the Jets, “ Pow! Right in the kiester!”
Is there anyone out there who hasn’t felt the joy of victory snatched away from them by the long arm of defeat? Anyone besides the J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets? Most of us know all too well how frustrating those situations are when the outcome seems all but certain, then whamo! It goes downhill fast. I call this the boomerang effect.
The boomerang effect typically happens when we are experiencing great confidence and optimism about an upcoming event. This is exactly the moment the gods of the universe look down upon us, see how happy and excited we are and say “I don’t think so.” Just when we thought we were walking on the proverbial garden path, we find ourselves diverted to some utility road instead.
A fourteen-year-old student, for example, learns early on about the boomerang effect when she discovers that her new BFF has a shelf life of about three weeks. “I can’t believe my super best friend Tiffany is now hanging out with that gross Amy who everybody hates”, is a common refrain that might be echoed in the hallways of No Fun Middle School in Anytown, USA.
Any divorce lawyer can tell you about that stunned husband or wife who really thought their marriage was ‘until death do us part’ until it wasn’t anymore. And how many women find out after a special dinner date, maybe on Valentine’s Day, that they are no longer one part of a couple? Ouch. No words explain this one, except maybe, boomerang effect.
Now take me, for instance. I usually get boomeranged by the weatherman. Just the hint of snow in the forecast causes me to dance for joy while, of course, paying close attention to the weather channel. After I have practically been assured of a snow day from school by every meteorologist on TV, I finally get to bed around the same time that the ‘big storm’ decides to change course. The next morning, while searching for my umbrella, I grumble something like ‘stupid weathermen’.
Most of us handle our disappointments with some degree of grace or at least a good exit line, just like the Jets coach did when he said, “The Steelers deserved to win today but we’re gonna work hard and we’ll be back even stronger next year.” Sounds like a plan and a warning to the gods of the universe that eventually the boomerang returns to the sender.
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