When I went to the fitness center today, I saw a half-dozen friends who asked how I was doing. They all know about my long recovery from brain surgery and are solicitous of my health.
I told them about Tom’s stroke. Several of them gave me a hug or patted my arm, and expressed sympathy and support.
But with two of them, a strange thing happened. They got this look of horror on their faces and physically backed away from me. Then averted their eyes. Left quickly.
You might think, “Well, they just didn’t know what to say.”
To me it felt like a primal reaction: Get away from bad luck or you will become unlucky.
It’s a very old superstition that luck, good and bad, is contagious.
Everybody loves a winner because they’re perceived as lucky. We want to be around good luck so that it rubs off on us.
But when someone looks like a loser, or their good luck has changed to bad, we avoid them. As though the evil bad-luck spirit could reach out from them and grab us.
Some superstitions are grounded in reality. Infectious diseases, negative attitudes, dangerous crowds all have a contagion. Instinct may guide us away from them.
Strokes aren’t contagious, and it wasn’t bad luck that caused Tom and I to have them.
So friends, please stay near.
You don’t have to know what to say. Hugs are always welcome.
Today’s penny is a 2014, 7 plus 7, a year that was neither lucky nor unlucky. One person’s lucky 7 doesn’t prevent the next person from rolling a 7.