Accidentally On Purpose

I woke up at seven this morning thinking “Dang, I forgot to set the alarm” – I needed to be up at 6:30 if we’re going to do our regular Zoom workout class. But then I remembered it’s also our 41st anniversary, and wondered if I had unconsciously planned this so we could “sleep in” this morning.

As kids we would have called this “accidentally on purpose.” We might “forget” to go home at the time our moms had told us, or do that extra chore, or tell ourselves we couldn’t find the borrowed toy that we didn’t want to return just yet.

Do you remember this phrase from your childhood?

Can you recall doing anything “accidentally on purpose”?

Do you see any “accidentally on purpose” actions going on around you – personally, or in the greater scheme of things?

29 thoughts on “Accidentally On Purpose”

  1. Morning all. I’m trying to think of the last time I did something “accidentally on purpose”. One of my theories of life is “forgiveness is easier to get than permission.”. So most of my accidentally on purpose isn’t even accidentally.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    I remember this phrase very well and seemed to refer to two things: 1. when you did something and denied your intention of having done it, or 2. When you really forgot or accidentally did something and it worked out really well that way. I don’t remember any precise incidents of this, but I sure remember the phrase.

    When my son was little I said this once about something, and his reply was, “Nawww. That was not an accident. That was a purpose.”

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Daughter frequently says she “accidentally” did any number of things. Ate too much, drank too much chocolate milk, played on her iPad too long. She doesn’t know the phrase “Accidentally on purpose” but that’s what it is.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I live with a bully. Most people would call her my conscience, but that’s too sweet a term for someone so cynical and unforgiving. Apparently other people have consciences that they can occasionally dupe. I’m not that lucky. My conscience is wise to every silly trick I use to excuse doing something indulgent. My conscience is also a bit crude. If I were to try to do something accidentally on purpose, my conscience would bark, “That shit don’t fly.”

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I know with our children there were many instances when annoying toys disappeared and none of us knew how that might have happened.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You reminded me of something I haven’t thought of for a while. When YA was still a toddler, she received an annoying noisy toy. It was a little phone and it had four buttons on it (one was a cow, one was a cat, one was a dog and one sounded like a phone.) When you picked up the handle and pushed one of the buttons, it made the corresponding sound. The animal sounds weren’t too bad but the phone sound was so realistic that every time she played with this toy, I got up to go answer the phone. This only lasted about three weeks before I took the batteries out. And then when it didn’t work I said “oh no it’s broken. You’ll have to make the sound yourself.” This actually turned out fine for her and she did that for quite a while and saved my sanity.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. At least one Baboons is very busy, and outdoors planting her flower boxes and planters. Today I finish the pretty stuff and start on the garden.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Accidentally on Purpose
    by Robert Frost

    The Universe is but the Thing of things,
    The things but balls all going round in rings.
    Some mighty huge, some mighty tiny,
    All of them radiant and mighty shiny.

    They mean to tell us all was rolling blind
    Till accidentally it hit on mind
    In an albino monkey in the jungle,
    And even then it had to grope and bungle,

    Till Darwin came to earth upon a year
    To show the evolution how to steer.
    They mean to tell us, though, the Omnibus
    Had no real purpose until it got to us.

    Never believe it. At the very worst
    It must have had the purpose from the first
    To produce purpose as the fitter bred:
    We were just purpose coming to a head.

    Liked by 2 people

        1. Sheesh, Bill, cut him a little slack. Perhaps he was trying to demonstrate that even he could write doggerel.


  7. A search also produces this:
    Origin of “Accidentally on Purpose”
    The phrase was used for the first time by Jose Francisco de Isle in his book The History of the Famous Preacher Gerund de Campazas printed in 1772. It goes: “Tell us what Modesty of Voice is, for you happened accidentally on purpose to drop this word, and I don’t rightly know what it signifies.”

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I have heard this phrase a lot in my life. I think it sometimes applies in situations where one is working in a customer service position, and when a customer is being uncivil or uncooperative, the phone just happens to go dead suddenly. Who knows why that happens.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Here’s a definition I found when, now, I’ve actually had time to look it up:
    “Meaning: performing an action intentionally and pretending to either oneself or to the world that as an accident; as if by accident, but really by meaning.”

    There was apparently a sitcom with this title around 2009 starring Jenna Elfman (anyone remember Dharma & Gregg?).

    Liked by 1 person

      1. He probably got Covid from being in the hospital the first time. I’m thinking a hospital is the last place I would want to be these days. Fingers crossed For another recovery for Steve.


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