Ask Ceil – Crumbs of Fate

Dear Ceil

Is our fate etched in stone, or do we really have control over it?

Nonplussed in New Hampshire

Ah, the ages-old question. Do we really have free will? Or are we just Destiny’s playthings? And by Destiny, I am not referring to the blind precognitive mutant adversary of the X-Men. (Actually, I meant to not refer to her, but now I am anyway. Was that fate?)


If Dame Judi Dench is Destiny, then Destiny scares the hell out of me.

So many learned people have addressed this question, like William Shakespeare:

“What fates impose, that men must needs abide; It boots not to resist both wind and tide.”
Herny IV: Part 3, Act IV, Scene III

So here, an argument for Fate. Of course if we didn’t resist both wind and tide, we’d never have built sailboats. And in this quote Edward wasn’t resisting wind and tide so much as he was being led away by French soldiers after being stripped of his crown. So maybe not so much an argument for Fate, as a blaming of Fate when you actually mean, “Guess I’m screwed. F*ck it.”

Several recent movies have dealt with this issue. In Final Destination, Fate is trying to kill people. In Sliding Doors, we see that depending whether or not we are on time, we may be killed. In Terminator, even when we know the future, we are powerless to stop mass genocide. And in Serendipity, John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale are psychics who go on a killing rampage across the plains states. (Not really, but wouldn’t that have been cool?)


I’ll know we’re meant for each other if we kill exactly the same number of pedestrians in the next two minutes.

These movies, also arguing our inability to circumvent our fate, seem to imply that Fate is trying to murder us in our sleep. Or, in the case of Serendipity, Fate is trying to kill us with the unbearable cuteness of John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. Same thing.

Others have weighed in on the subject. Certainly astrologers have argued that if we know our Fate we can change it. They, of course, have perfected the art of taking both sides of the same argument while also creating a market for what they’re selling. I predict a lot of them get pretty rich.

But my favorite, most succinct opinion on the matter comes from the foremost authority on all things philosophical: Yahoo Answers.

Cheeky asks: Free Will or Destiny? Can there be both?
foxylady answers: your free will makes your destiny.

Thanks foxylady, for solving that for us. You’re the best. Or at least, Cheeky has selected your answer as the best. And whatever Cheeky says, that’s good enough for me.


Dear Ceil,

Where do crumbs go?

Cleaning in California

Well, it all depends on the crumbs. If it’s something that’s easy to pick up and throw away, like a crumb from a piece of stale bread, it’ll go to the most inaccessible place you can think of. Say, behind the extremely heavy bookcase, or underneath the refrigerator. If it’s more like a crumb from a blueberry pie, or anything with ketchup on it, it will land on the nearest light-colored fabric.


What’s going on under your fridge

Crumbs have a reputation for being annoying, which may make you think that this is why people who aggravate us are sometimes called “crumbs”. No such luck. Dictionary.com has the etymology of calling a person a “crumb” as a 1918 US slang word for “body louse”. This would be even more annoying than the stuff that falls off your toast. Just my humble opinion.

So, what do you do about crumbs once you find them? How on earth can you clean up the millions of crumbs that find their way into the crevices of your home? Easy: The WhizzClean Crumb Brush.

You’re welcome.


Ceil Kessler joined the circus when she was 10 years old. She has worked as the Dalai Lama’s head buffer, Kato Kaelin’s sock folder and Fran Drescher’s speech therapist (and crumb cleaner). There are days she just likes to say “Fareed Zakaria”. Ceil counts Prince and William Shakespeare as close personal friends.

She now consults on business intelligence software, markets and publishes the magazine “Business Perks“, runs the Laurel Highlands Vegetarian Society, and heads a team in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s “Walk for a Cure” on September 17th. To join or donate to Team Kessler, go to the Teams page  and find Team Kessler in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

If you have questions for Ceil, please send them along to questions@askceil.com, or you can use the Ask Ceil-o-matic form. You are fated to follow her on Twitter @ceilck.

Original images here and here.

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One thought on “Ask Ceil – Crumbs of Fate

Add yours

  1. Why do we pay for crumbs – you know, to make crumbed lamb cutlets or prawn cutlets or fish or even fish fingers…wait, now you’re making me hungry!

    I believe Fate brought us to find each other on Twitter…or was it our mutual love for all things and all men related to White Collar…I forget…crumbs!

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