When I married Darrell MacIntyre at the end of my sophomore year, that all changed. He was a graduating senior from Madison, Wisconsin, with aspirations of becoming a lawyer.
Two years later, I found myself at the University of Georgia with the beginnings of a family. I just wanted to get my degree at that point – in something, preferably in Speech. Darrell was in Law School. So, at Registration, I was sent to the Department of Speech and Drama. When I talked to Registration, I told them about my major in Speech at Wisconsin. They said that would be the Department of Journalism at UGA, and there were prerequisites – journalism 101, 102, etc. I did not have that kind of time so I enrolled in the Department of Speech and Drama. That would let me get a degree in the shortest amount of time. During those days, if women had a family, they were “supposed” to stay home and tend to the children. Ugh. Not me!!!
What happened? LIFE HAPPENED!! I have written a book about some of the things that happened. “Janet Tallulah”.
Over the years, I have not enjoyed “Pundit” shows. In fact, most of them drive me crazy. Steve watched them incessantly. Ugh. But Christiane’s CNN program, I enjoy.
This fall, one of her guests was a writer of a novel “The Law of Unintended Consequences. John Ross. The book was listed by The New York Times‘ Sunday Book Review as one of the most sought after out-of-print books of 2013. The cover has Lady Justice being assaulted by an ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives) agent.
I have not read the book but I was immediately interested in the sociological concept. It reminded me of an article I read pointing out that relatively minor incidents in Europe (in the early 1900’s) resulted in helping to cause World War I. I decided learn more about the Law of Unintended Consequences and WWI, especially since Nice has a lot of WWI Monuments and plaques around town.
This is what I read in Wikipedia:
“Scholars doing short-term analysis focused on the summer of 1914 ask if the conflict could have been stopped, or whether it was out of control. The immediate causes lay in decisions made by statesmen and generals during the July Crisis of 1914. This crisis was triggered by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by a Bosnian Serb who had been supported by a nationalist organization in Serbia. The crisis escalated as the conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia came to involve Russia, Germany, France, and ultimately Belgium and Great Britain.”
A nationalist organization in Serbia assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. That incident resulted in conflict between countries that resulted in World War I. Intensity, then High Impact. Unintended Consequences. On a World level, is that what is happening now?
Ross’ book continues by pointing out that unintended consequences can be grouped into three types:
- Unexpected benefit: A positive unexpected benefit , also referred to as luck, serendipity or a windfall.
- Unexpected drawback: An unexpected detriment occurring in addition to the desired effect of the policy.
- Perverse result: A perverse effect contrary to what was originally intended – when an intended solution makes a problem worse.
On a personal level, that concept has applied to most of my life. Gives me a lot to think about. Of course, I know how the things listed below turned out. Personal decisions that had unintended consequences. Things that come to mind for me – in a nutshell – that may or may not be developed on another day, are the following:
1) Trying to get two of my GHS friends to like me by taking a cigarette so that I could join them outside in order to feel “included”;
2) Choosing University of Wisconsin right out of Gainesville High School, Gainesville, Georgia because it was a good school located on two lakes, part of the Big Ten, had red and white colors, and its school song was “On Wisconsin”; (Sigh)
3) Pledging Kappa Alpha Theta instead of Kappa Kappa Gamma because two of my rush-mates made fun of KKG and I wanted them to like me;
4) Staying at the University of Wisconsin for my sophomore year instead of transferring to UCLA (where I had been accepted) so that I could live in the Theta house before transferring; (It was an honor to live in the House when you were a sophomore. I was eligible because I had high grades. Most were juniors and seniors);
5) Getting “pinned” to Darrell MacIntyre because he was good-looking and a lot of girls wanted him. Plus, the “Pinning Ceremony” was a big deal in the House.
And, on it goes for years. Still is. “Roads not Taken” or “Crossroads” or “Serendipity” or “flukes” or … something like that. I have had unexpected benefits, unexpected drawbacks, and perverse results. Duh. And, now I am observing unintended consequences in the world as well in my life in overlapping succession. Just some food for thought in these first few day of 2019. …..