Sunday, March 1, 2009

What Kind of Luck is That?

Somehow I got onto trying describe to Sada (5) what luck is. 

Since I'm somewhere between an analyst and a statistician - there isn't a whole lot of luck in the world I live in.  I did ride a bike for 5 years without a single flat.  I sometimes go months and months without a flat but when i get one now - it usually means I'll have 2 more within the following 2 days (this has happened 2 years in a row).  I guess I believe more in making my own luck - which is essentially avoiding bad luck via preparation.  Before a race I check nearly every bolt on my bike, I check tires a few days prior to the race for leaks and cuts and then I bring 2 of everything within reason. 

Myspace CommentsI once was on a date with a girl where I got hit with food poisoning and had to duck into a public restroom for what seemed like an eternity followed by getting pooped on by a bird immediately after emerging from the restroom.  There was no second date.  That was bad luck. 

I applied to two schools for a 1 year 'exchange' program - UCSD (San Diego) and USF (Tampa, FL).  I met a girl who was from Washington at USF who I then visited in Seattle and who I then moved out to be with after graduating school.  I got a job at a bike shop in Seattle and met a guy who's wife worked at Microsoft where she eventually got me a job.  I met Greta on my 2nd day at Microsoft who I eventually married 2 years later.  That was a string of good luck. 

Now back to explaining luck to a 5 year old....

I tried to use examples of things to explain luck. 

I started with the always popular - if you found $10 on the street that would be good luck, but she really doesn't know what $10 is.  So I tried a few more. 

She sort of got the hang of it and tried her own:

Sada: how about if a seagull is flying along and all of a sudden a necktie falls around his neck - is that good luck?

Me: why would that be good luck

Sada: well because he would look handsome

I tried again - going for the obvious and said:

Me: how about if you were walking down the street and your leg just fell off - I would think that would be bad luck (not to mention a medical emergency and probably a pretty big issue)?

Sada: no, that would be funny luck.

So I got nowhere. 

Then she thinks she got it and tried one more:

Sada: would it be good luck if a dog had a palm tree for a leg?

This is where I gave up parenting for the day. 

So next time someone wishes you good luck before a race hope that they aren't forecasting a free necktie landing on you or the sudden growth of a palm tree where your leg used to be. 


Anonymous said...


maybe try "what if you woke up one day to find out that it was now your birthday every day of the year?"

Anonymous said...

Instead of luck, perhaps it's just randomness / chance affecting our lives. See "The Drunkard's Walk, How Randomness Rules our Lives"

Anonymous said...

funny. when ever i speak to your girls i get rather intelligent conversation. must just be the "daddy factor".