Introduction
Home Up Coincidence

09-29-2020

NOTE:  destinysix001.htm  thru   destinysix223.htm is the main work.  However it is much too long at 223 chapters.

My suggestion is to split it into two books.

Book One: Twist of Fate would encompass my childhood, St. John's, Johns Hopkins, and Graduate school into Book One.  It would run from Introduction, destinysix001.htm  to Hit the Road, destinysix053.htm

Book Two: Magic Carpet Ride would encompass my dance career starting with my expulsion from graduate school till 1984 into Book Two.  It would run from Beginning, destinysix054.htm, to Fate, destinysix223.htm.

If this is too long, a natural break point is the end of 1979, the end of the disco era, and the start of 1980, the start of the country era.

End Point:  Bleakness, destinysix177.htm

Start Point: Dumb Luck, destinysix178.htm

 

 

Book Three: Gypsy Prophecy (gypsyprophecy001.htm thru gypsyprophecy021.htm)  could easily stop right where it is.

 

 

 

 

 


BOOK ONE

 


CHAPTER ONE:
INTRODUCTION

Written by Rick Archer
 

 

Forward

This is a book about Fate.  At this point in the Age of Man, there is no way to prove the existence of Fate 'scientifically'.  That said, I believe the unusual events in the first half of my life offer strong empirical evidence to support my theory that Fate plays a direct part in our lives.  I am not alone in this hunch.  Many people report odd events in their lives that lead them to wonder if certain things are meant to be. 

In this book, you will meet two versions of myself.  At age 70, I am the narrator who tells the story of what happened to me at an earlier age.  I am not famous and you would not notice me in a crowd.  However I have led a very unusual life.  In particular, I was able to accomplish things in my career as a dance instructor that I always believed were well beyond my talent level.  As each uncanny development opened yet another door, I became more and more suspicious that I was leading a charmed life of some sort. 

 

I grew up as a woebegone kid handicapped by a series of tough breaks.  Forced to more or less raise myself following my parents' divorce, I didn't do a very good job.  Due to my perpetual Underdog status, I grew up twisted, angry and bitter.  Things got so tough in high school that the class bully referred to me as the 'Creepy Loser Kid'.  The sad thing is that I agreed with him.

The ultimate shame came the day I was kicked out of graduate school.  I had aspired to become a therapist, but that dream was over.  The head of the Psychology Department had decided I did not have the right personality to become a therapist.  He didn't come right out and say it, but I assume he felt that with all my problems, I had no business trying to help others.  My dismissal from Graduate School was rock bottom, the absolute low point of my life.  Overwhelmed with self-doubt and a sense of abject failure, I returned to Houston with no idea what to do next.

From there I wandered through life like a modern-day Alice in Wonderland.  It took forever to bounce back.  Working a dead end job, I lost all ambition.  Plagued by loneliness, the only thing I cared about was finding some way to overcome an overwhelming fear of approaching women I did not know. 

Along the way I developed a fascination with dance lessons.  I hoped these lessons would help me cure my fear of rejection.  Only one problem... I could not dance a lick.  I was abysmal.  The only thing I had going for me was an irrational belief that these dance lessons were important despite my glacial progress. 

 

After three years of non-stop lessons, to my surprise, in 1977 I was handed three opportunities to teach line dances in the space of four months.  Although I did not ask for these opportunities, at least I had the sense to take advantage of what was given to me.  I still wasn't much of a dancer, but I at least knew enough to explain how a line dance works to another person.  That's not saying much.  After all, teaching a line dance is about as humble as it gets in the World of Dance. 

In December 1977 I caught a huge break.  Saturday Night Fever appeared in the theaters and created an instant demand for dance lessons.  This may be hard to believe, but for a variety of odd reasons I was the only person teaching an advertised Disco class at the time.  When the demand for Disco classes came knocking, I was the only one there to answer the door.  Despite the fact that I barely knew what I was doing, I instantly became the best-known dance teacher in Houston thanks to a bizarre, one in a million fluke.  Good grief, I had just gone from Zero to Hero in ten seconds.  That was the moment my 'Magic Carpet Ride' took off, a ride that would soar well beyond my wildest imagination.  With each succeeding lucky break acting as my next stepping stone, I embarked on a career as a dance teacher despite no apparent gift for dancing whatsoever. 

I was fully aware how unusually fortunate I was to be in the forefront of this Disco phenomenon.  However, my life was so busy with a frenzied, rollercoaster existence, I did not have the time or perspective to fully comprehend what was happening to me.  Given that I was basically incompetent at what I was doing, it took all my strength and cunning just to cope with the myriad of obstacles laid in my path. 

One day I finally reached a resting point.  It had taken seven long, difficult years for the dust to clear, but when 1983 rolled around, I realized I no longer had to struggle.  After surviving challenge after challenge by the skin of my teeth, lo and behold, I had created the largest dance studio in Houston.  Nor would it stop there.  The day would come when I would own the largest independent dance studio in the country. 

I knew this had to be a mistake.  I could not have done this on my own.  Convinced I was some sort of Destiny's Child, I looked back and carefully chronicled every event, every lucky break, every coincidence, every unusual situation, every special person who had opened doors for me at just the right time.  The total was staggering.  I came up with a list of 90 events and unusual situations.  Many of these events were so far out of the ordinary that I had no choice but wonder if a Hidden Hand had been involved.

Lining each lucky break side by side, these events diagrammed a series of stepping stones which suggested a clear-cut path had seemingly been laid out for me well in advance.  All I had to do was follow the bread crumbs.  The moment I had that realization, something very peculiar happened... the lucky breaks stopped.  Not that I needed any more lucky breaks.  My dance studio was so well established that luck was no longer required.  My conclusion was someone had decided I had the ability to take it from here without further supernatural intervention.

From this point on, I led a hectic, but normal life.  Twenty-seven years passed with no more weird coincidences, nothing out of the ordinary.  During this time, I discovered I had a special flair for running my dance studio.  It was pretty odd that a guy who had so much difficulty learning to dance would be so successful, but I did have some talent.  I was a good teacher and I had a knack for promoting dance as an excellent way to make friends.  As my program grew by leaps and bounds, I received many compliments.  Maybe too many compliments.  Although I would never forget the lucky breaks that had given me my head start, those twenty-seven years had dulled my memory a bit.  I started to get the big head.  Surely it was my talent that explained my success.  I began to believe with my kind of ability, I would have eventually made it this far even without all those lucky breaks back at the start.  I was quite proud of myself.
 

Failure

In 2010 the lease on my dance studio was about to expire.  In order to continue, I would have to move.  The thought of transferring all these mirrors and 7,000 feet of wood flooring to a new spot was daunting.  After running the dance studio for 32 years, I was tired, worn out.  Financially secure for life, this would be a good time to stop.  Unwilling to sign a long-term lease at age 60, I sold my beloved dance studio.  However, once I saw how inept the new owner was, I regretted my decision.  Bitterly unhappy with the way the new owner handled the studio, the moment my non-compete clause expired in 2012, I was aching to get back in the game and open a new studio. 

Out of nowhere, a person approached me with a golden opportunity.  I could rent his existing dance studio for pennies compared to what I used to pay.  No lease was necessary.  Since the financial risk was negligible, this looked like the real thing.  In fact, this was such a lucky break, I was convinced I had received a signal from Beyond to resume my dance career.  I had everything going for me... a good reputation, a great location, a huge email list of former students, two excellent business partners, and thirty-plus years of experience.  But something went wrong.  No matter how hard I tried, over a six-month period, nothing clicked.  How could this be?  I knew every trick in the book.  After all, I was the one who once created the largest dance studio in America.  Not this time.  I was a complete failure. 

It is one thing to fail due to inexperience, lack of talent, a poor attitude, or the unwillingness to put in the hard work.  None of that was true for me.  I had definitely rolled up my sleeves for my comeback.  As it turned out, a strange series of bad breaks is what had ruined my comeback.  I was fit to be tied.  I could have sworn I had received a signal from Beyond that I was supposed to resume what I considered a divine mission.  So why would God help me the first time, but not the second time?    

Here is an example of one of several bad breaks.  After a slow start, my fledgling dance program was starting to turn the corner.  We had 30 students taking a Rumba-Cha Cha class in August 2012.  This was a very large number and the enthusiasm was high.  I fully expected this group would continue to take a follow-up class next month.  However, I was scheduled to take a cruise trip to Russia and needed a substitute for one class that month.  Fortunately I had recently met a woman named Angel who was a talented Ballroom instructor.  Angel had already agreed to begin teaching for me in September.  Seeking a substitute, I made a bargain with her.  Angel wanted to visit her husband in Peru, so I taught a Ballroom class for her in July.  In return, Angel promised to teach my Rumba class in August while I visited to Russia. 

Angel never showed up for her class.  30 students were left standing in front of a locked door on a hot Sunday afternoon.  They were furious at being stood up.  When I returned the following week, attendance was down to 5.  The momentum was lost. 

I received this email:

From: Angel Bush
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2012 7:32 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject:
The class I missed

Dear Rick,

I apologize that I did not make the Ballroom class last week.  I was in urgent care and then the hospital on that Sunday.

It all started on Thursday with a migraine.  I went to my chiropractor on Friday, as this usually does the trick to get rid of them.  It did the job.   When I awoke on Saturday morning, I was fine the entire day.  I went to bed Saturday night and awoke on Sunday morning with the worst migraine I have ever had.  I have never felt such pain in my life.  I can't even begin to describe it since I was having problems concentrating and thinking.  Nothing I took for medicine was even touching the pain so we went to the urgent care and they sent me to the hospital.

While I was there they did some tests to make sure it wasn't something more serious than a migraine and then drugged me up real good.  Luckily they could find nothing wrong.  They think that it may have been a side effect of a medication I was on.  So they told me not to take it anymore and my Dr has put me on a new medication. 

Unfortunately I missed the class and didn't even realize it until Monday night when I was beginning to feel better. 

At this point the damage was done and I didn't know who I should call since you were away.  So I waited till you were back in the country and I heard from you. 

I apologize again to you.  I have NEVER missed someone's class I was supposed to help out with and if there is some way that you can think of that I can make it up to you, I will be more than happy to do it. 

Once again I apologize and please let me know if there is some way I can make it up to you.  Under ANY other circumstance if I was unable to teach the class I would have at least found a replacement.   So I also apologize for not finding someone to take my place. 

Sincerely,  Angel 
 

To be honest, I believed Angel.  The tone was very sincere plus she apologized again in person.  However, the damage was profound.  This was not an ordinary bad break.  As bad breaks go, this was a real doozy because it completely shut down my program.  I found Angel's admission to be quite curious -  "I have NEVER missed someone's class I was supposed to help out with." 

Angel was the one who used the capital letters, not me.  What Angel was trying to say was that this mistake was highly out of the ordinary.  I believed her.  I did not know Angel very well, but my initial impression had been very favorable.  However, maybe I was wrong, so I checked around.  I was not at all surprised to learn Angel had an excellent reputation. 

When something happens that is 'out of the ordinary', I automatically become suspicious.  I have learned when someone behaves in a highly uncharacteristic manner, this is a sign that Fate might be the best explanation.  So of course I went on 'Supernatural Alert'.  Was it possible that Angel's headache was created by an unseen hand?  No one can possibly prove that.  However, when things like that happen enough times, it is difficult not to wonder.

There was no way to repair the damage caused by Angel's mistake.  Although it was not the final blow, the loss weakened my program so badly that yet another strange incident would finish the job two months later.  To be honest, as the bad breaks mounted, I began to feel 'jinxed'.  I felt betrayed.  Thirty years earlier during my climb to the top of my profession, whatever could go right did go right.  One lucky break after another.  Now here in 2012 I had been offered an opportunity so promising that I predicted a 99.9% chance of success. 

As I said, the initial omens were so positive that I assumed the Universe wanted me to resume my previous path.  Well, obviously I had guessed wrong.  This series of bad breaks forced me to raise an eyebrow.  I did not fail for lack of trying.  Nor did I fail due to stupid mistakes.  I failed specifically because every possible thing that could go wrong did go wrong.  I cannot begin to explain how bewildered I felt.  Whatever happened to that Hidden Hand which had once come to my rescue time and again?  Now it was just the opposite.  I actually felt set up, just like Charlie Brown must have felt after Lucy ripped the football away as he tried to kick it. 

 
 

I believed my chance of failure was .01%  I was so sure of success that I could taste it!!  This made no sense whatsoever.  It was nearly impossible for me to fail, but I had gone down despite my best effort.  Unbelievable. 

So I asked a question.  It had not been my idea to make a comeback.  The only reason I embarked on this second dance studio was this offer to rent a large existing dance studio at a bargain price.  It was too good to be true.  Believing God wanted me back in the game, I had accepted the offer.

After being hit by one bad break after another, now I felt like the cards had been deliberately stacked against me.  What exactly was the purpose of this?  Feeling abandoned by God, I quietly closed my dance program and went into hiding.  As I nursed my wounded pride, I spent a lot of time asking myself if there was supposed to be a message here.  One day I ran across an Arabic saying.

If it is meant to be, God will move two mountains to make it happen. 

And if it is not meant to be, you will never taste it even if it is placed between your lips. 

I felt goosebumps when I read that.  This saying made a deep impression on me.  Back in the early days of my first dance studio, I was convinced my success was due to help from beyond.  Due to that uncanny series of lucky breaks, in a sense God really had moved two mountains. 

Now late in my life when I took success for granted, God had seemingly ripped further glory right from between my lips.  I felt like I had been scolded by God.  I was ashamed of myself, but grateful as well.  The message could not have been more clear.  I could have all the talent in the world, but unless I followed God's Will, I would never succeed on my own merits.  If God means for me to succeed, I will.  And if I am not meant to succeed, I will not.  If people wish to succeed in Life, they need to follow God's Will.  All glory must be given to God.

So I asked myself a question.  Now that I had received my spanking, what next?  If teaching dance was not what I was supposed to do, then 'What' was I supposed to do?  I decided I had been taught this painful, yet important lesson for a reason.  My instincts told me to write a book about these experiences.  If I shared the lessons I had learned the hard way, the message would be appreciated. 

 

Keep an Open Mind!

There will be those who scoff at the suggestion that our lives are guided by Fate.  I counter by saying there is much about this world that we do not understand.  If someone watches carefully enough, they will notice this world we call 'Reality' is filled with unexplained phenomena.  As an example, I offer three stories of people who changed the world by observing a mystery and looking for an answer. 

In 1796 Edward Jenner observed that milkmaids seemed to have a natural immunity to the dread disease known as Smallpox.  This critical observation led to the development of the smallpox vaccine.  Dr. Jenner is credited with singlehandedly saving the lives of 10% of the world's population.  Would that we all be so observant. 

In 1847 Ignaz Semmelweiss was in charge of a hospital ward with a high number of deaths from fever affecting pregnant women.  One day a fellow doctor was dissecting the cadaver of a fever victim.  Accidentally stabbing himself with the scalpel, he died of the same fever soon after.  Semmelweiss was suspicious that some sort invisible substance had been transferred from that scalpel.  This was a radical thought since the existence of germs was unknown.  As an experiment, Semmelweiss ordered the doctors under his supervision to wash their hands before treating the pregnant women.  Sure enough, the incidence of fever dropped dramatically.  However, this story did not have a happy ending.  The doctors at another ward in the hospital refused to wash their hands.  "Doctors are gentlemen, and the hands of gentlemen are clean."  Maybe so, but their patients kept dying.  Such are the dangers of a closed mind.

In 1928 Alexander Fleming noticed something very odd when he returned to his laboratory after an absence.  On a Petri dish full of bacteria, a mold had developed which seemed to inhibit bacterial growth.  Fleming's sharp eyes led to the discovery of penicillin.  The entire field of antibiotic research developed out of this keen observation. 

Three mysteries, three observations, three dramatic discoveries that changed the world.  Such are the benefits of an open mind. 

If one explores mysterious observations in their own life, there is no telling what will be discovered.  In my book, I discuss 90 Observations from my own life, several of which are quite dramatic.  In each of these Observations, I could find no obvious explanation.  Since I lack any sort of psychic ability, I cannot in good conscience insist these Observations were Miracles or absolute proof of Supernatural Intervention.  What I can do is promise that each time I describe an Observation, each detail took place precisely as told.  Then it is up to the Reader to draw his or her own conclusion about Fate. 

That said, I have already reached my own conclusion.  When it comes to Coincidence and Events that are highly out of the ordinary, although I agree it is difficult to believe in a supernatural explanation, sometimes it's harder to believe in anything else. 

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."

-- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as stated by Sherlock Holmes


If there is one thing all my readers can agree on, it is that humans make a lot of stupid mistakes.  That includes me.  Lord knows each chapter is strewn with yet another dumb thing I did.  As it stands, when someone makes a really bad mistake, something like senselessly marrying a terrible human being, typically they run screaming to a therapist or they buy the latest self-help book in a desperate attempt to understand how they could do something so utterly stupid. 

What would this person think if they discovered they never had any choice in the matter?  What would they say if they came to believe they were Fated to make that mistake?  I make this point time after time in my book.  If I am right, it might help people learn to forgive themselves.  It might help people get past self-pity and accept that some things really do happen for a reason.  The smart ones will learn their lesson and get back up on their feet.  If Fate does exist... and I believe it does... it will cast new light on incidents in our lives that previously made little sense.  After you read my story, you may find your viewpoint about Fate has changed in a very dramatic way.
 

Rick Archer
2020

 


MAGIC CARPET RIDE, PART ONE

Chapter TWO:  COINCIDENCE

 

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COINCIDENCE                

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