Friday, October 17, 2014

13 Sure-fire Bad Luck Generators

Don't look at your bride before the wedding; it's bad luck.  This, we know, is a silly rule.  Why?  Is it because there's no such thing as bad luck?  Maybe, but I'm not here to debate the existence or non-existence of luck.  I'm just saying - how will you recognize your bride when you see her, if you've not seen her before the wedding?  When else would you have seen her?  See?  Not such a very practical rule, is it?

Bored yet?  Me, too!  Here are thirteen more ways to invite bad luck into your life, some of which you may not have heard before:

1.  Saying "good luck" to a performer who is about to go onstage is bad luck.  Apparently, if you really care about him, and honestly wish him good luck, you are supposed to recommend that he fracture at least one bone in his leg.  This is because there is nothing that can be performed on a stage that can't be improved with crutches.

2.  The 13th floor of a building, especially a hotel, is unlucky.  This is believed widely enough that many buildings simply do not have a floor numbered 13.  Well, as the late, great Mitch Hedberg said, "You people on the 14th floor know what floor you're really on!"

3.  The old black cat crossing your path myth.  Yeah, I grew up with a certifiably insane black cat constantly crossing my path, and I haven't had any bad... heyyyyy... wait a minute... Dammit, Daiquiri!!  (The cat's name was Daiquiri, for some reason)

4.  Using CGI to recreate a character who was originally - and magically - brought to life as a real, live Muppet is just begging for bad luck.  Those who do this will find their dreams in this life and the next (if there was one - there isn't, though) positively infested with something called "Jar-Jar Binks."  So just don't, okay?

5.  Never, ever, cross the streams.  It's not just bad luck, it's probably copyrighted, and you might get sued.

6.  Buying a car on a Thursday has long been considered a certain path to a bad ownership experience.  There's actually a perfectly logical explanation for this one, which is that car salesmen have long believed that it is bad luck to sell a car on a Thursday.

7.  For soldiers around the world, lighting three (or, presumably, more) cigarettes with one match is supposed to be bad luck, on account of the cumulative time it takes to do so - time enough for a sniper to draw a bead on you.  This one's probably moot, now, thanks to cigarette lighters and the modern, smoke-free battlefield.

8.  It's bad luck to put a hat on a bed.  There are two orange floppy hats at home who will wholeheartedly attest to this.  And don't even get me started on the red hats with the curly W.  --sigh--  Yes, it's a baseball thing.  Just go to the next one.

9.  Leaving a house through a door other than the one through which you entered is considered bad luck.  Anyone who was born by C-Section care to corroborate?  What kind of luck have you had?  Bad, I bet.

10.  It's very bad luck to say the word "pig" when fishing at sea.  It's not so helpful when you're fishing for compliments, either.

11.  It's bad luck to let milk boil over.  Not really, but it's messy, and it stinks, so, yeah.  Bad luck.  Don't do it.

12.  Want a lifetime of misfortune?  No?  Then whatever you do, don't try to race a pair of pelicans down Route A1A on your bicycle in Juno Beach, Florida.  The pelicans will always win, and there's an excellent chance that you will be hit by a car.

13.  It is a well-known fact that googling things that are supposed to be bad luck in order to find out whether they're really bad luck... is bad luck.  Please, don't be a hero.  It's just not worth it.
You're gonna lose...

This too was prompted by my friends at STUDIO 30-PLUS, only this time it was my own post (the next one on this very blog, if you keep scrolling and/or clicking) that provided the phrase, "Supposed to be bad luck."  So, yeah.  Yay, me!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Silence Echoes: The World According To Giant Bat Wings Roland


I opened my notebook and cleared my throat.  "Giant Bat Wings Roland," I began.

She immediately raised a hand.  "Stop."


"Yes.  If I can guess in three tries how Roland got that stupid name, can we skip this, and watch 'Family Guy?'"  She didn't so much want to watch the show; she wanted to fall asleep to it.

I acquiesced.  

She looked at the ceiling for a moment.  "He had some kind of deformity that his fellow hoboes said looked like giant bat wings?"

"Nope," I said.

"Okay - hold on.  I know whatever it is has to be weird.  He wore a pair of fake giant bat wings?"

I made a show of checking my notes.  "No.  Strike two..."

"Ugh.  Alright, um... Oh!  I know - he actually had wings - and not just deformed arms or something."

"Seriously?  No.  Geez.  He just always carried a pair of ordinary bat's wings with him - wings that he described as 'giant,' although they were not.  At all."

She scowled at me.  "Of course.  How could I not have guessed.  It's so obvious."

"Roland was orphaned when he was ten, and-"

"Oh, here we go again," she groaned.  "What manner of freaky death befell his poor parents?"

"I have no idea how they died.  Not much is known about him at all.  I just have some quotes, translated from the hobo signs he left scrawled on track-side sheds and telegraph poles between Pittsburgh and Altoona in the 1930s."

"Those squiggly lines and triangles and stick figures?  How much story can be conveyed that way?" she asked.

"More than you might think.  Here's what I have, in no particular order...

My brother Walt is an engineer.  Hasn't spoken to me since we were small boys.  But he always slows his train when he sees me walking, so I can hop aboard and ride a while.

I know his signature pull on the whistle cord, and can hear him for miles.

One night, I walked the Pennsylvania just east of Horseshoe Curve, and I heard the silence, and I knew.

Silence echoes, though only hoboes can hear it.  The sound of that whistle never came.  The silence echoed off the hills, down to where I walked.  It was the end of Walt.  The next morning, I came upon the mangled steel. 

No one talks to hoboes, around a wreck.  Supposed to be bad luck.  They didn't need to say it.  I said a prayer and kept on walking.

The world was mine, anyway.  Walt knew nothing of my freedom."   

She shook her head, as if trying to dislodge water from her ears, then kissed me, and rolled over.  "Nice one, sweetie.  Good night."

Shockingly, this post was prompted by my friends at Studio 30 Plus, using "here we go again," from this fine blog post, and "weird," from this one.  Stop by either of these bloggy places, and you won't be disappointed.