Sex and Serendipity

Earlier this week, on January 28th to be precise, a friend sent me a note excitedly letting me know that on that day, in 1754, Horace Walpole used the word ‘serendipity’ for, apparently, the first time in the history of the English language.

Accompanying this article was the following little nugget attributed to Julius Comroe:

“Serendipity is looking in a haystack for a needle and discovering a farmer’s daughter.”


Maybe my mind’s in the gutter, but that seemed like a saucy outcome that Dr. Comroe was alluding to: Our needle searcher much to their surprise, instead of the needle they’d been lusting after, had found the farmer’s daughter instead. Sexual hilarity ensues …

Or, maybe, Dr. Comroe actually meant something like this:

“Serendipity is looking in a haystack for a needle and finding a sewing kit”

I know boooring … perhaps a little more accurately connected to the concept of serendipity though, at least in the way I’ve been thinking about it recently

My marvelous friend, the one who’d sent me the original note, then suggested the following:

“Perhaps she (the farmer’s daughter in a haystack) too was once looking for a needle and found hanging out in the haystack much better than the sewing life that sent her to the haystack in the first place. Together, the man and woman originally sent to a haystack to find a needle realize that the utopia in which they’ve been living is actually a dystopia. It is in the haystack that they first discover free will and abandon the search for the needle forever!”

On that note, I think we’re done.

Thanks for listening,



Now read this

“But you can’t please all the people all the time”

I’m currently reading Jon Ronson‘s most recent book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed. My title from today’s post made me think of Chapter Two and his description of everything that went down with an author who’d made up some song lyrics.... Continue →