A few days ago, the microwave beeped erratically for no known reason. A printer quit working. Plumbing fixtures began to malfunction. The button to enter a new blog post vanished temporarily from my website. A year since I wrote “Things keep breaking,” the gremlins are at it again.
Gremlins came to human attention shortly after World War I, when British pilots described their sabotage of aircraft engines and flight controls. The Spectator reported in the 1920s, "The old Royal Naval Air Service in 1917 and the newly constituted Royal Air Force in 1918 appear to have detected the existence of a horde of mysterious and malicious sprites whose whole purpose in life was…to bring about as many as possible of the inexplicable mishaps which, in those days as now, trouble an airman’s life."
Are the gremlins more active in this darkening season, or do they just throw me farther off balance? Soon tree lights and carols will revive my resilience. Days will start to lengthen. Perhaps the gremlins will tire of their antics, until this time next year.
I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.