Jinxing

I used to think it was outrageous that two people saying something simultaneously should be grounds for a jinx. Whenever somebody jinxed me, I would be all, “What the hell, man? We said the same thing because we’re on the same page here. Why am I being punished with a fucking curse?”

I now realize that jinxing was invented because we need a game to break the tension inherent in this situation. Imagine saying “I’m thirsty!” in unison with your friend, except neither of you has the power to jinx. You would both just kind of stand there and awkwardly laugh due to how stupid your lives have suddenly become. There’s actually no graceful way out of this situation. Jinxing may sound childish, but it’s a choice between that or the two of you spontaneously making out.

Where I draw the line is the idea that now I somehow owe my friend a Coke, because I don’t. It’s like, “You’ve just pinched me and poked me—I’ve been publicly humiliated for absolutely no reason. Under no circumstances am I going to take you out for Cokes.” It’s such an insane ritual, too, because nobody in the history of jinxes has actually collected on their Coke. I probably owe about $3,000 worth of Cokes right now, and there’s no need for it. How in the hell did Coke even become involved with this bullshit?

Researching frivolous subjects on Wikipedia is a hobby of mine, so I consulted their (largely retarded) jinxing article. I didn’t find anything close to resembling an answer, but I did come across the following intriguing excerpt:

A variation experienced in Southern Massachusetts in the 1960s may not be strictly considered a “jinx,” but when two people say the same thing in unison (unplanned!), they must hook little fingers and say the following dialog: “What goes up the chimney?” “Smoke.” “May your wish and my wish never be broke!”

That’s probably the cutest thing I’ve ever read. I imagine two grown men hooking their pinkies together and excitedly breaking into this little exchange. To me this is way more positive than demanding a Coke from your friend and beating the shit out of him. It’s a chance to share a wish! The next time an acquaintance and I speak in unison, I’m going to begin reciting this routine, because it’s the perfect way to avoid any lingering awkwardness. Hopefully all my acquaintances are familiar with proper jinxing protocol from 1960s Southern Massachusetts, or else I’m going to look like a real asshole.

14 thoughts on “Jinxing

  1. In Florida the penance for Jinx was that you couldn’t speak until someone said your name three times.

    My mother would usually break it up before the penalty reached fruition, claiming the game was demonic.

    What happens if after the simultaneous phrase they both say, “jinx” at the same time as well? Do they cancel each other out? Is there some sort of double or super jinx? Does this summon Satan? was my mother right?

  2. Good question. Actually, Wikipedia covers that very dilemma in profound detail:

    Sometimes, two people will utter “jinx” at exactly the same time. In a “simultaneous jinx”, neither person can say to have jinxed the other, therefore no one is jinxed. Instead, jinxes can be immediately called “up the line”. To determine who is the jinxer and who is the jinxee, both people must rapidly speak the next word in a (predetermined) jinx sequence. This continues until either there is a clear jinxer (the first person who speaks the next phrase in the sequence uninterrupted) or until both parties have reached the final level in the sequence, at which point no winner can be determined.

    The jinx sequence varies from one community to another, and both players must be in consensus about its components and order.

    One example of a jinx sequence is as follows:

    1. Jinx
    2. Double Jinx
    3. Triple Jinx
    4. Personal Jinx
    5. Black Magic Jinx
    6. Your Mother Jinx
    7. Mantii Jinx

    To call up the line one might say: “Jinx! Double jinx! Triple jinx! Personal jinx! Black magic Jinx! Your Mother Jinx! Mantii jinx!” as quickly as possible.

  3. The “up the line” business seems to defeat the purpose of jinx. While one jinx may be a fun way to diffuse an otherwise awkward situation, as is chanting a school-yard rhyme with your old-school bf, jinxing up the line seems to simply be yet another attempt at one-ups-manship. After shouting “your mother jinx” in your friends face, there is no nice chuckle at how silly the two of you are; your simply simply feels personally affronted and you dance around like a showy jerk.

    Jinx indeed.

  4. i believe in nothing more than double jinx. i was actually thinking about this before i even got to the part where you people were discussing it. that’s right, i said ‘you people’. disgusting humans.

  5. We always yelled out jinx but not a single person ever stopped talking. Kinda pointless really. The person who yelled it first would be all smug and the person who was too slow would be all frustrated but nobody ever actually followed the rules of the game.
    I think we just liked yelling stuff really loud.

  6. This evening, a couple hours after my friends and I enjoyed this post, two of us said the same thing simultaneously! It was the perfect window of opportunity for a jinx, perhaps even a double jinx! However, we just looked at each other with knowing eyes, and held out our pinkies to do the rhyme. It was truly a beautiful moment.

  7. My response to the “pinch poke you owe me a coke” was me chinese me play joke me went pee pee in your coke.

    Oh and the jinx machine is out of order is hilarious.

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