Oh, Shit.

Before we can accept that shit happens, we should understand what shit is.  In essence, shit is the unexpected. More than that, it is the most unexpected of all. A true twist of fate.

ohshithomeShit is always a surprise. Airplanes flying into tall buildings. Sinkholes transporting the neighbours to Hell. In retrospect, shit is more often than not a surprise we could have anticipated, if we think back and think deep. There isn’t much to be said for shit, and what there is depends on your point-of-view. If you see shit happen, you’ll say one thing and if you’re in the middle of shit as it happens you’ll say another.

Someone once told me that there’s an audio tape of of people who were seeing shit happen right in front of their eyes. A tsunami, a cliff diver hitting the rocks, a wing-walker taking a header on the runway at an airshow … whatever. With events like these unfolding in front of them, nine out of ten people say ‘oh my God.’

People within the shit, on the other hand, respond differently. From a vantage point inside the towers, or sitting in the flaming cockpit or looking up for a parachute that isn’t there, one is almost always prompted to say ‘oh, shit.’

Interesting, and fuel for a bit of philosophy.

From the outside of shit:

You can’t believe this is happening. But at least it isn’t happening to you. Some poor sucker is going down and without knowing his or her name, you grant the benefit of the doubt and express astonishment and wonderment at why the Almighty would take this innocent in such a sudden and awful way. ‘Oh my God’ is a question.

From the inside of shit:

You can believe this is happening. Why? Because you screwed up. You did something wrong, tried to get away with something or simply shouldn’t have been here in the first place. Never felt right about the corner office on the ninetieth floor. Pulled too many G’s on that last loop. Rushed your pack job to get on the next skydive load.

Sooner or later, you’re going to have an ‘oh, shit’ moment. You can’t know when or where it will be, but you can be pretty certain what you’ll have to say about it.

10 years ago