My family and friends love to play Zilch, a dice game. Zilch is 99% luck and 1% strategy. Know when to hold em, know when to fold em; win big…or lose big. Conservative players take “a bird in the hand”, and others willing to take bigger risks, “go for it”. Either way the dice roll is what you get. You can pray, put ju-ju on the dice and rub your good luck piece, but in the end it is just dumb luck. What is dumb luck? :the way in which something good happens completely by chance, without being planned or deserved. So the part of this definition that really pisses me off is “without being planned or deserved.” Basically I can’t earn dumb luck; I can’t control my way to dumb luck, and a mass murderer is just as likely to experience dumb luck as I am. Is this right? But wait, is dumb luck always “good” luck? Joe just happened to be standing under the tree when lighting struck the tree and he was killed. This “completely by chance, without being planned or deserved” sad occurrence seems just as much dumb luck as hitting the jackpot in Vegas, of course with vastly different outcomes.
Am I just playing with words again? This notion of good luck and bad luck feels very central to my angst at the moment. I tried very, very hard to bring some justice to my good friend who has been wronged by our HOA Board. Orson Welles said: Nobody gets justice, people only get good luck or bad luck. My cynicism says my friend has the bad luck to live in an HOA where the Board has an adversarial approach to their neighbors. She did not cause the damage to her home, but she has the bad luck to face an unethical board. She had the bad luck to have a pipe the HOA is responsible for leak for a long time inside a wall, and eventually cause enough damage that mitigation required her kitchen be gutted. This after she asked them repeatedly to check the pipe because she smelled mildew and moldy smell in her cabinet. It seems there is no justice for her and nothing but bad luck. If Mr Welles is right that nobody gets justice why not just give up and let the chips fall where they may. If Lady Luck is random is there any reason to seek influence with her?
Bad things do happen to good people, and suffering, destruction and distress are the result of random tragedies. Hiding in your house with a blanket over your head does not guarantee that tragedy will not find you. The roof could collapse or an earthquake could rock your safe world. Do we make our own luck? If the universe is just a collection of random events, then we are not that powerful. Maybe we can work hard to be in a place that can better allow good things to come into our lives. Maybe. I think I may need to accept that uncertainty, luck and randomness are a fact of life, but I do have control over a very important variable: my attitude. I can choose to view negative events as catastrophes or as learning experiences. This sounds a bit hollow to me right now. I am not really sure if I could answer “Yes” to Dirty Harry’s question “Do you feel lucky?”
In the meantime these 2 quotes gave me a chuckle and I am so lucky I can still laugh!
Depend on the rabbit’s foot if you will, but remember it didn’t work for the rabbit. R.E. Shay
I believe in luck: how else can you explain the success of those you dislike? Jean Cocteau