Due to Circumstances Beyond Our Control…


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I honestly believe that there is no other phrase in the English language that can so instil a sense of dread as the preface of “Due to circumstances beyond out control.”

It not quite “heart stopping” nor is it so alarming that visions of death and destruction immediately spring up full-blown in your imagination. But what it does instead is get your Spidey senses tingling.

Why?

Well, mainly because it signifies that something has gone wrong or at the very least not as expected. Of course the worry that this detour off into left field is somehow your fault also adds to the worry quotient that this phrase conjures up. What ever the reason or cause of this “change of events” it is a signal or signpost that the journey is not going to be as smooth as you originally expected.

Of course I use the term (or word) journey as a sort of “catch-all” metaphorical image of what ever this “due to…” effects. But whether the thing altered because of these circumstances is an appointment (which in this case was a surgery follow-on appointment) or an agreement or the cancellation of a favourite telly program; it generally evokes images of disaster.

I guess I’ve always found the phrase to be the precursor to an announcement of death. Almost every time I’ve seen this particular phrase it is immediately followed by information that the person you were scheduled to: see, talk to, meet with, or watch, has died. Quite suddenly and unexpectedly and certainly most inconveniently.

The only other phrase that will guarantee a rise of blood pressure is the “In memory of ‘insert name here’ at the closing credits of a film. Although the individual that the film-makers want to memorialise can sometime be so eclectic that you may never find out there connection to the film or if they died during the making of or whether their death was just while the film was awaiting distribution.

While writing this post – which, by the way, was prompted by a letter I received yesterday – I had a brief childhood memory jump up out of the recesses of my ageing brain.

See if this rings a chord or bell with any of you:

Now I don’t think I was the only kid whose heart-rate sped up along with his blood pressure rising to dangerous levels when this was broadcast. The second this came on the telly, my flight or fight mechanism kicked in. After watching this on YouTube, I found that it still does.

Walk down memory lane over…

So I am a little bit curious. What phrases or sounds (or sights for that matter) instantaneously cause your blood pressure to rise and your heart-rate to double. I am really only looking at the “fear factor” here; not the similar bodily reactions to a pleasure stimulus. Let me know.

Maybe you have a similar reaction to mine to this foreboding phrase. If you don’t come up with anything, I’ll assume that you were stopped by circumstances beyond your control.

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Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, http://MikesFilmTalk.com Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

10 thoughts on “Due to Circumstances Beyond Our Control…”

  1. I am super paranoid so it doesn’t take much to make me a anxious, but I am a good planner so you know 😀

    The most common for me is the blue screen of death on the computers I work on, never know when they can come up 😀

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  2. Outside of “Is that a man with a huge chainsaw coming our way,” “OMG, there’s a big truck coming right at us,” or “I missed my period,” there isn’t really a specific phrase that strikes terror in my heart. The EBS test is the thing I hate most mainly because that damn alert sound is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I also knew a girl who loved the X-Files but absolutely positively could not bear to listen to the introductory music. But like the good folks above, the Blue Screen of Death is my primary nemesis, having had one recently.

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    1. Funny, you’re the second person to mention the “computer” screen thing…must be an epidemic. What I used to get was the blank dark screen that I would look at with an idiotic expression on my face. Confusion was always the order of the day; panic came later! LOL

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  3. On a minor level when I rebuilt my PC yesterday and it wouldn’t switch on. i thought I’d lost about 6 months of my project work (yeah I know shoulda backed up!) and that ominous moment when you turn on your PC and you get nothing but blackness always gets me a little panicky

    On a more serious level (though losing 6 months work is pretty serious believe me!) the sound of vehicles rushing past at close proximity. I had the back end of my motorbike utterly destroyed when I was sideswiped a few years ago, been a little jumpy ever since.

    Oh and of course whenever I see the local store is out of Marmite, THAT nearly causes as seizure! =>

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