From studying the snake bites and eye-pokes in my long life, I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing that affects us more than blind luck.
But my frequent comment that people who discount the importance of blind luck in our affairs haven’t been paying attention usually results in sound criticism.
Many, many folks have been slow to get the message.
A few years ago, the Company where I worked, brought a young fellow in to be head of the Weaving Department where I labored.
A bonafide whippersnapper, who had never run looms a day in his life, this doofus set about telling us how to weave cloth.
And he was serious.
This callow youth had picked his relatives well – his father and older brother were Company wheels and helped promote their younger relative right on up the ladder.
Certain that his ascension into upper management was due to his superior intellect and knowledge, this fireball set about lecturing us old-timers on our backward ways.
He called me into his office and sat me down for an interrogation and lecture. At one point, he demanded that I tell him what I thought made a good weaver.
Since I had been weaving for many years and was, indeed, a certified weaving instructor, I wrongly thought I knew the answer.
I said that a weaver’s output is affected by many things, the weaver on the previous shift he follows, the yarn he has to run, the cloth styles, the skill and knowledge of the section’s loom fixer and last, but not least, good luck in all these elements.
Having none of my nonsense, the outraged young fella slapped the desktop and let out a distressed groan.
“That’s pure-T bullshit!” He said angrily. “Anybody who blames luck for his problems is just looking for an alibi. Smart people make their own luck.”
Well, I guess he got me told. I was ashamed of my own foolish self.
A few months later a notorious, full-blooded Yankee corporate raider performed a picture-perfect hostile take-over of the mill company.
This low-down-snake-in-the-grass took the mill company away from the family who had been running it for over a century. And he kicked them out of the Corporate Office as easily as slapping a sick baby off a slop-jar.
On his first day as boss, the vile bastard fired every flunky associated with the former Management. Including the young fellow who had pointed out my ignorance and didn’t believe that luck mattered.
When I went in to work the day of the management massacre, I met the red-faced young fellow coming through the gate on his way out of the mill. He, carrying the contents of his desk in a cardboard box, seemed addled and confused. He avoided my gaze.
I felt the urge to ask him how he felt about luck after the events of the day, but decided to let it go. After this harsh lesson, If he hadn’t realized just how rude and insulting Lady Luck could be anything I could say would just be rubbing it in.
I like to think that I am a better person than that. I’m probably not, but I like to think that I am.
In the same vein, I knew a young lady on the mill village who studied at Auburn to be a school teacher, her life’s ambition.
After graduation, she decided to try and get a teaching job in Atlanta. To this end, she managed a job interview at the Atlanta School System Headquarters and drove up one morning anxious to land a position.
As she drove down the entrance ramp to the Interstate in Atlanta, she looked back for an opening in the traffic too long and rear-ended the car ahead of her, really messing it up.
Luckily, neither she nor the man driving the car she demolished were seriously injured, but neither car could be driven.
After the cops had filled out the paper work on the accident, the man who’s car was destroyed called somebody to come and get him.
The young prospective teacher, thoroughly distraught and upset over the wreck, still had the police call a taxi to take her to her job interview.
She hurried into the place, worrying how her being late would look, and took a seat. Shortly, she was called in for the interview and almost fainted when she saw the man who was to interview her.
Sitting there at his desk, glaring at her with open-mouth surprise, was the same guy she had just rear-ended on the entrance ramp. It took him several minutes to gather his senses.
And, oh, yeah. After he got over his shock at seeing the young woman who had totaled his car, the fellow hired her anyway. Talk about a forgiving spirit.
I’m sure many folks will see this as coincidence and not luck. But I am not one of them.
I was reminded of these incidents after reading a news story on Lady Luck’s gift to Dr. Gary Cohen.
In case you missed it, Dr. Gary Cohen was a physician at the VA Medical center in Tuscaloosa. Dr. Cohen and his brother were visiting their elderly father who had retired to the Surfside Condo in Miami.
Yep, that Surfside Condo. While the good doctor and his brother were visiting their father, the Surfside Condo fell in and killed all three and hundreds of others.
Now what are the odds of a fellow in Tuscaloosa getting the notion to visit his old daddy in Florida and then having the building collapse on him while he is there?
And end up being squashed so flat he could be slid under the funeral home door?
Probably greater than the odds of that New Jersey fellow who has won the state Lottery – twice! Proof that Lady Luck grades on a curve. Sometimes.
But nothing proves the random “blessings and curses” nature of life better than Ann Hodges of Sylacauga, Alabama.
Back in the day, Ann Hodges stretched out on her couch to take a short afternoon nap. Not uncommon in Sylacauga, or anywhere else.
While Ms. Hodges lay there, sawing logs, an 8.5 pound meteorite came hurtling from millions of miles out in deep space, crashed through the unlucky woman’s ceiling and struck her on her side, causing a nasty wound.
Ann Hodges was the first known person to be struck by an object zooming in from outer space.
And, according to some disconcerting rumors, nine months after being struck in her mid-section by the space rock, Ann Hodges gave birth to Gomer Pyle.
(Reportedly, the cosmic rock that assaulted Ann Hodges is displayed in a place of honor at the University of Alabama, alongside the state’s legendary boozer Big Jim Folsom’s liver.)
I haven’t personally verified this information, but have no reason to doubt it. The same person who told me about it also says that Trump actually won the election.
Who would lie about something like that?