There is a saying that lightning never strikes the same place once, but that saying is even a bad one by the standard of bad urban legends. Early in his political career, Abraham Lincoln made political hay of the fact that someone who had been a fellow Whig in Illinois politics had a lightning rod on his house after having switched political parties for preferment. Much of the time, lightning excepted, people want the hits to keep coming and coming. Musicians, for example, often greatly dread being considered one-hit wonders, except that there is a market for such people to keep playing their hits far more than for comparative musicians with only two or three hits . To have one hit is better than none by a great degree and to have two hits is only slightly better than to have one, but to have twenty hits is a great deal better, at least that means that there will be an eternity of greatest hits albums being made.
In many areas of life, though, one just wishes the hits would stop coming. Let us think, for example, of the NFL, which has a variety of hits that it wishes would stop coming. Between efforts at boycotts, dissatisfaction over a rash of relocating, health concerns over brain damage of former players, a bit of abuse when it comes to discipline of players by the league office, and a stretch of some dreadful games. There’s a league that wants the hits to stop coming any time they feel free. Of course boxing is a game where the hits come, but in some cases one would rather that they stop coming. A recent hyped match between GGG and a ginger boxer named Canelo ended in one of those dreadful disputed draws. Boxers would be well advised not to let the judges decide a match because a great deal of the time they make terrible decisions in draws. A boxer can win 8 out of 12 rounds and end up losing because of the subjectivity and, some would say, corruption of the game. While that may be good to stir up controversy, it does little to give a sport mainstream legitimacy.
At times, though, the hits are more serious. As I was going about my business this morning, I saw a series of e-mail messages informing me of a serious earthquake in Mexico City that has caused over 100 deaths as of the latest report I have seen, and likely a great deal of damage. It was not that long ago that there was a serious earthquake near the area of Oaxaca. Unfortunately, earthquakes are one of those phenomena of earth where one occurrence often means that there will be another one not too long in the future not too far away. The same is true for hurricanes, as the hits keep on coming and coming with that. If they aren’t dumping large amounts of rain on Texas or Mexico or causing havoc in Florida and the Caribbean, then they are springing almost from nothing into immensely rapid intensification before causing havoc. Again, my inbox was filled with news yesterday about the rapid intensification of Hurricane Maria and then I have to look at its winds over places from St. Lucia to islands that have already been sufficiently battered this hurricane season. It looks like Puerto Rico will be the next one to be hit as that storm makes its fateful course through the North Atlantic, an area that surely wishes the hits would stop coming for a while.
What connects all of these unwanted hits together, besides the fact that they are unwanted? Some of the hits spring from the fact that we live in a dangerous world full of perils and occasional moments of difficulty based on time and chance. Other perils come about because of our own mistakes. Sometimes we put ourselves in harm’s way, and sometimes we think of ourselves as capable of enduring far more punishment than ends up coming our way. Whether we are the equivalent of low-lying land in places like Texas and Florida or small and obscure islands in the Caribbean, or whether we are boxers in a ring or people involved in institutions that simply cannot figure out what they are trying to do, life sometimes presents situations where hits keep on coming and coming, but not the kind of hits that we would want that would mean success. And when you roll with the punches enough, you hope you are a better person on the other side.
 See, for example: