The Caesar salad, invented by Caesar Cardini, is an American classic.
October 23, 2012
I was trying to find a quote from Horace Walpole, the great English author, on another topic.
My search proved to be quite serendipitous.
It turns out in one of the 3,000 or more letters he penned, he was considerate enough to give me the idea for this post on serendipity.
Since he not only invented the word, but coined its meaning.
In a letter of January 28, 1754, Walpole says, "This discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word."
He based the word on an old name for Sri Lanka, Serendip. He explained that this name was part of the title of "a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip.”
The plot? As the highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accident, of wondrous things they weren't looking for in the first place.
It is how I strive to live my life.
Serendipity has another distinction; a British translation company has voted it as one of the ten English words that were hardest to translate.
(In French, it’s sérendipicité or sérendipité but also heureux hasard, "fortunate chance." Italian serendipità; Dutch serendipiteit; German Serendipität; Swedish, Danish and Norwegian, serendipitet.)
So, in case you want to impress someone in your travels, you should know no one is going to understand you.
I have that problem anyway.
There's an art to finding something when you’re not looking for it.
You can make it happen by getting off the highways, once in a while, and discover something you weren't expecting. A yard sale where you might find a Walpole letter, a classic diner...a gigantic maple.
Sure, you could read newspapers on line, and I do (it's difficult to get the Tasmanian Mercury delivered) but usually you only find what you’re looking for. There's nothing like leafing though a good daily newspaper to find all sorts of unexpected nuggets.
Alberto Eco, in The “Search for the Perfect Language” explains, “In linguistics, as in other sciences, there are serendipities... and even the most lunatic experiments can produce strange side effects.”
Everything from Penicillin, corn flakes, Scotch Guard, LSD and America were discovered by accident.
What do you say? What gifts have serendipity bestowed on you?