Do You Believe in Luck?

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Luck is a strange thing. People believe that it’s out there helping or hurting them. They believe that it is a force to be reckoned with. With countless other things in the world people take to rationalism. They deny spirituality, mysticism, and definitely things like Christianity. But all around us people have ideas ingrained in their minds about luck. Some examples:

  • You dare not shave your playoff beard
  • Saying “good luck” to someone before they go on stage for a performance
  • Don’t do anything to annoy or bother evil spirits
  • If you win a game doing a certain routine, don’t change that routine as long as you continue winning

The list goes on and on. Superstitions, old wives’ tales, and folklore. By any of its names, luck abounds in all cultures.

I got to thinking about this because Chinese New Year happened a little while ago and brought red envelopes with it. It’s interesting to be a Christian and Chinese at this time of year. I shouldn’t believe in luck, and yet I still accept these gifts which are filled with ideas of luck and prosperity. (I’ve come to accept it as a gift but heartily do not believe that it wards off evil spirits or brings me good luck.)

Luck, and all of its spawn, are everywhere. It will take some effort to avoid allowing it to take hold in my life, that’s for sure!

When Selfishness Surpasses Logic

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I was out for lunch on a Sunday afternoon in Chinatown. The restaurant that my group went to was mostly full, but we were able to get a table in a back room. It wasn’t ideally placed since it was awkwardly positioned relative to another large table, but it was definitely better than having to wait. I sat near the large table with my back to it and at some point later on in the meal my lunch mates indicated for me to look behind me. Lo and behold there was an elderly Chinese woman sitting with her chair positioned so that I could not move back any further. This wouldn’t be a problem if that’s what the proximity of our tables required, but she was so far from her table that she couldn’t touch it if she wanted to. In fact I’m not sure if she could have touched the people who were sitting at the table! She had taken it upon herself to reserve as much space for her table as possible. Oh fantastic.

As we concluded and left our lunch, my group discussed this. What amazed us most was the fact that she would make herself so uncomfortable to do what she did. In the end, she was able to reserve some extra breathing room for her lunch mates even though she had put herself out of sorts. However, the extra breathing room is pretty useless if you already have plenty of breathing room! Ultimately I am losing, she is losing, and her tablemates are not really gaining anything of use.

In a small personal context this doesn’t make sense. Nor does it in a larger social sense. Getting cheap/free healthcare is going to cost all of the rest of the people more (whether reduced benefits or higher cost). For you to get more, others must get less. There is no magic fountain of money and benefits. Would you pursue more if ultimately getting more meant that everyone got nothing? What if everything collapsed because everyone was getting something for free? Was it worth it? Is your pension worth it if governments go bankrupt? Is it even worth anything at that point?

Take what you’re doing and think about the consequences. You might not like what you find.

Surprising Things My Coworkers Never Learned

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After a few years on the job, I have seen a number of things that I find rather peculiar. While I wouldn’t say that I meet people from all walks of life, I have met quite an assortment of people. I have realized that people are different from me. Some of them are very different from me.

Take these examples:

  • Cutting other people off while they’re talking. It seems that people need to get a word in edgewise, and they find that the best time is when someone else is talking.
  • Food service help. Some people are very helpful when it comes to preparing food for company events (e.g., BBQ, birthday cake). However, their grasp of cleanliness seems to be different from mine. They are very open to the idea of eating the food while preparing it. They are totally down with using their bare hands to touch food. Yum!
  • Covering their mouths when coughing and sneezing. No explanation really needed. Everyone should always cover up!
  • Washing their hands after using the bathroom. And some of the people that do wash their hands do not seem to understand that hand washing is even better when you use soap. The sign with “Lavese Las Manos Antes De Salir Esta Sala” should probably mention soap.

Welcome to my life, where things can always be amusing. You just have to notice them.