Saturday, March 8, 2014

As Lady Luck would have it

Winning kitchen appliances

The other day, my son scratched and uncovered a winning ticket. Well, it was not his first time as he has been regularly winning his way into sweet treats by winning chocolate bars left and right. Yet we were scratching our heads a month ago when we saw the latest prize, which included much welcomed kitchen appliances of a total worth of $400!

I personally consider myself lucky in the sense of things generally working out for the better. And I am most grateful for this. But in terms of actually winning things, my highest limits have never exceeded a pair of movie tickets including popcorn (which I won on two different but consecutive annual events though). But anything beyond that used to be stories and anecdotes here and there until my son showed me otherwise.

What is luck? Where does it come from? And who is responsible for its distribution? Can you wear out your luck, that is, is there a wear and tear at play? Is it like money which you can overspend leading you to a bankrupt state? These are questions that were going through my mind and to none of which I have a definitive answer. I doubt anyone can solve this riddle, except by claiming that luck does not exist or dismiss them as figures and apparitions we project or imagine in the clouds.

When I consider the occurrence and distribution of luck I cannot help but notice that some are favored by this gracious Lady more than others. Some it seems are born under a lucky star since they keep winning big. Others never do. They do not even win a chocolate bar nor do they find small change in the streets. They are trapped in luckless cycles, and it seems that they always come up short, be it in their jobs, marriages, friendships.

Poets and writers have wondered about this wheel of fortune that gives out more to some, while downright ignoring others. Shakespeare often calls Fortuna - or her Greek version Tyche - a strumpet. That expresses well the resentment of those who are not touched by her grace. But how can we win her favor then? Can she be bribed? Can she be studied and influenced?

Some say there is no such thing as luck. It is all random and merely based on coincidence, while admittedly it may defy logic and laws. But how come some are consistently luckier than others? Does luck smile upon the bold or the hardworking? I have known both types of people but luck can be as elusive to them as the blue moon.

So it seems that luck is somehow granted or given, a kind of karmic gift. It might be that positive people tend to attract more luck as their outlook is a magnet for good tidings. Or it might be that their will is stronger and that they simply will luck into their lives similar to using the Force.

I remember the night we had a draw one of my colleagues stated at the beginning that he never wins. And literally everyone at our table won (I got the movie tickets that night), while he remained empty-handed. Can our belief work as self-fulfilling prophecy? If you think yourself lucky, will it indeed attract luck?

What surprises me also is that luck somehow seems to be bottomless. Although I used to think that one ought to use it sparingly so it is not wasted or spent, those who are blessed by Fortuna tend to encounter lucky streaks on a never-ending roll. For those lucky and chosen few, their water always turns to wine.

So, Fortuna, here is my wish. Keep us in the palm of your hand. Shower us with gifts, and we will welcome thee with open hands. And yes, I will believe in you.

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