Favorite

X-X-X: The Observer is feeling unlucky, punk 

The Observer has been having a run of powerful bad luck recently. I won't get into exactly what, lest I call more down on my head along with the locusts, but trust me: It's been a rough couple weeks. Let's just say it variously involves a large tree, the recent Lear-strength hurricane that struck Little Rock, a guy damn near getting his lip shot off, a busted foot and the heaviest tube-type color TV ever made. Let's leave it at that.

While Yours Truly has managed to banish most other forms of superstition, hoodoo, deliverance-seeking, karma-believing and spook-fearin' from my life in recent years — yes, even the iron cross of organized religion, which I shed on the road awhile ago and never once checked for in the mirror — my belief in bad luck stubbornly persists, the last of my youthful fears and backwater bugaboos.

I blame my childhood. Back when The Observer was a working as a roofer in the family bidness, an age ago, luck was a religion among the hard men, guitar pickers, pool hustlers, chain smokers, ex-cons, wife beaters and low-to-no-counts that Pa used to hire up for his shingle crews. Walking under a ladder was like slapping somebody's grandma off the porch. Fistfights broke out over the privilege of picking up a found penny and its attendant halo of golden luck. A bird pecking at the window was a reason enough to pull the drapes for days and refuse all entry except by a parole officer or the warranted police. Attempting three on a match was liable to get you shivved.

Once, with The Observer at the tiller of a ladder-hung Ford pickup that should have been put out to pasture, crushed and melted, or sunk to the bottom of the sea as an artificial reef 10 years prior, I was driving through Little Rock with two fellas — Bufkin and Bear — when a black cat darted across the street ahead of us. Quick as a snake striking, Bear licked his pinkie finger and smeared three quick Xs on the cracked windshield, just below where the rearview mirror should have been. Bufkin, simultaneously, made a gnarled ring with his thumb and forefinger, then forcefully spat through it onto the dashboard. They then proceeded to argue, loudly, for the next hour and a half over whose bullshit was more bullshit — whose bad ju-ju repellent was sure to rain damnation down upon if allowed to stand, and whose had pinged the ominous black cat path-cross away into the summer air like a speeding bullet off Superman's chest. I meanwhile, wondered why luck restoration apparently had so much to do with spit.

Bear is 15 years worth of dead now, by the way, killed back when The Observer was in grad school, the life smushed out of him on a twisty road in Saline County by an overturned car and a belief in his inalienable constitutional right to never wear a seatbelt. Meanwhile, Bufkin is a fire-and-brimstone preacher in the ugliest corner of North Louisiana, last I heard. I'll leave it up to you, Dear Reader and Friend, to decide who came out on the lucky end of that deal. That said, I will tell you that a black cat ran across The Observer's path as I drove down Maple Street a few weeks back. Before I could stop myself, I'd whipped three quick X's onto the windshield of Spouse's car. A block later, for good measure, I applied Rev. Dr. Bufkin's remedy, rolling down the window and spitting through the ring of my finger and thumb. One of them has to work, I figured. Better safe than sorry. No sense tempting ruination in matters so potentially grave. Then I laughed at myself for being such a fate-haunted bumpkin.

Given my recent run of troubles, though, I'm beginning to wonder if I canceled something out, or didn't spit forcefully enough, or am finally paying for all those mirrors I broke as a kid, the boomerang of fortune spinning back through the cosmos to find me here on the sill of 40. In the end, I guess, I may just have to grit my teeth and make my own luck, as folks have been doing since time immemorial in these parts. Between now and then, though, The Observer calls dibs on any pennies found on the sidewalk.

Favorite

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Snake stories

    The Observer's boss, Uncle Alan, is something of a gentleman farmer on his spread up in Cabot, growing heirloom tomatoes and watermelons and crops of chiggers on property that looks like the perfect farmstead Lenny and George often fantasized about in "Of Mice and Men."
    • Aug 27, 2015
  • Show and tell

    The Observer is an advocate of the A+ method of integrating the arts and using creativity to teach across the curriculum, an approach that the Thea Foundation, with help from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, is offering to schools across the state.
    • Feb 25, 2016

Most Shared

  • Home again

    The plan, formulated months ago, was this: Ellen and I were going to go to Washington for inauguration festivities, then fly out the morning after the balls for Panama City and a long planned cruise to begin with a Panama Canal passage.
  • Who needs courts?

    Not since the John Birch Society's "Impeach Earl Warren" billboards littered Southern roadsides after the Supreme Court's school-integration decision in 1954 has the American judicial system been under such siege, but who would have thought the trifling Arkansas legislature would lead the charge?
  • Bungling

    If the late, great Donald Westlake had written spy thrillers instead of crime capers, they'd read a lot like the opening weeks of the Trump administration.
  • UPDATE: Campus carry bill amended by Senate to require training

    The Senate this morning added an amendment to Rep. Charlie Collins campus carry bill that incorporates the effort denied in committee yesterday to require a 16-hour additional training period before university staff members with concealed carry permits may take the weapons on campus.
  • Director to resign from state court administrative office

    Supreme Court Chief Justice John Dan Kemp announced today the resignation of J.D. Gingerich, long-time director of the administrative office of the courts.

Latest in The Observer

  • Love is a verb

    It is Valentine's Day as The Observer writes this, the day of chocolates and lacy underthings past for you, but still the present for Yours Truly.
    • Feb 16, 2017
  • #resist

    First off, great job out there, everybody, with the marching and the sign-making and just getting out of bed and showing up when you could be binge-watching "Dexter."
    • Feb 9, 2017
  • Dispatches

    A deputy Observer and friends recently made the trek to D.C. for the Women's March on Washington, the hugely attended event that bigly showed up the sparse turnout for the inauguration of Dorito Mussolini, his best stab at alternative facts be damned. Sad! Here is a little of what our friend Observed while helping kick open the door on a new age of patriotism and protest.
    • Feb 2, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

New Crystal Bridges exhibit explores Mexican-American border

New Crystal Bridges exhibit explores Mexican-American border

Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.

Event Calendar

« »

February

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28  

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation