I’m not a superstitious person, so I don’t worry about black cats crossing my path, and while breaking a mirror is annoying, I don’t think it means that I’m cursed with bad luck for the next seven years. Nor do I think that walking underneath ladders is bad luck – although walking underneath ladders can be a great way to get paint splatters on your clothes, or maybe even a pail of paint dumped on your head, if the guy above you on the ladder is really clumsy, so I’d advise against that one, just for the sake of common sense.
Recently, we had a Friday the 13th show up on the calendar, and I’m always mildly amused when some people actually dread the day, as though there’s a much greater chance of being victimized by bad luck, just because of a date on the calendar. Do bad things happen to some people on Friday the 13th? Of course they do! Just like bad things happen to some people on all 365 days of the year, because it’s a tough world out there, and bad shit can happen to any of us on any date of the calendar.
But in spite of all that I’ve just said about not being superstitious, every now and then, it does seem like a mysterious and malevolent higher power has singled me out and decided to fuck with me, just for the fun of it.
Like the lovely winter day a few years back when after just parking my car on a city street, I slipped on an icy curb and twisted my ankle. It was painful, but nothing really serious. But as I fell, I dropped my car keys, which landed on edge of the curb a few feet away from me. My car keys dangled on the edge of the curb just long enough for me to see that they were hanging precariously above a storm drain grate. As I got to my knees to snatch them up, my car keys fell down off the curb and into the storm drain grate, but instead of disappearing down into the sewer below, they hung suspended by one key on the corner of one of the square holes in the grate.
In spite of my twisted and painfully throbbing ankle, I was still delighted that my car keys had not disappeared down through the grate and been lost. I actually felt lucky as I reached down to grab my keys out of the grate – until a truck went by and hit a very large puddle of icy water and dirty slush – which not only drenched me with icy water and dirty slush, but also washed my car keys down the storm drain and out of sight, just a fraction of a second before I could grab them.
Now soaking wet, filthy and freezing, as well as maddeningly car keyless, I managed to stand up on my twisted ankle and limp painfully over to my car. I had an extra car key hidden under the car – or so I thought… Someone, who shall remain nameless, had used the hidden key and never put it back.
I had been doing a good job of holding myself together until this point, but when I found out that my hidden car key box was there where it belonged, but with no car key in it, I let fly a verbal stream of profanely blue outrage so loud and startling, that at least three women backed fearfully away from me to a safer distance, and I attracted the attention of a police officer, who threatened to arrest me for using such loudly obscene language in a public place.
But after hearing my explanation of what led to my obscene outburst, and seeing my drenched in dirty ice water and slush appearance, the cop started laughing at me, and it took him over a minute to regain his composure. This caused me mixed feelings of relief and humiliation. Relief that I probably wasn’t going to be arrested for open and gross lewdness, but also humiliation when the cop laughed at me as though I was most hysterically ridiculous thing that he’d ever seen.
But then Officer Laugh-a-lot turned into a good guy, and let me sit in the back of his cruiser with the heat on, so I wouldn’t freeze while I called my wife to come and get me. Which is when her day suddenly turned unlucky too… Although the truth is that she felt so bad about what had happened to me, that I decided to take the high road and not get mad at her for the missing hidden key.
Besides, her not replacing the hidden key had little to do with the worst of my (key) chain reaction of bad to worse luck, and being a man of experience, I know that forgiveness of the woman you love at a time like this, can lead to “getting lucky”. And later on, that is just what happened, and in unforgettable ways.
Oh, by the way, this all happened on Saturday the 14th. The day before, on Friday the 13th, I got a raise at work. So at least in my case, I’m not the least bit worried about bad luck on Friday the 13th. It’s that evil mutha Saturday the 14th that I watch out for!