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.

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • Big secrets

    The Observer has been watching with some interest the recent flurry of documents coming out about the NSA's attempts to archive every email, text, phone call, shopping list, fortune cookie slip, mumble, grumble, Freudian slip, mirror glance, poot, belch and letter home to Mom and Dad from summer camp.
    • Sep 12, 2013
  • $61

    The Observer strolled down to the River Market the other day with the Cuban band CruzWay, a great bunch of folks who — under the guidance of their pater familias, Dr. Anibal Cruz II — made a daring, musical, slow-motion evacuation from that Communist island nation, staying over in Mexico for a few years before winding up shipwrecked here in Arkansas with the rest of us yokels.
    • Nov 14, 2013
  • Suds and curry

    The Observer hates doing laundry. We always have. Even as a small child, The Observer operated on the "Can Get Another Day of Wear by Adding Cologne" method of laundry control, and that was when we had ready access to washing powders, limitless hot water, and our own washer and dryer.
    • Nov 21, 2013

Most Shared

  • Opinions split within GOP on "law and order" issues. Where will Asa stand?

    The New York Times reports that some Republicans are trending away from the lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key approach to criminal justice embraced by the party's old guard, in part out of a recognition that minority votes matter now more than ever. Asa Hutchinson wants to reach out to black voters — what better place to start?
  • Humanists sue over Baxter County nativity scene. Looks like another winner

    The Baxter Bulletin reported today on a lawsuit filed on behalf of a Baxter County resident over the Nativity scene that has been erected on the Baxter County Courthouse lawn for decades by local lawyer Rick Spencer.
  • Live: Weedhorse, Flat Top Tony and John Neal Rock and Roll at Revolution (Photos)

    I arrived at The Rev Room Friday at 7:15 p.m., as a bartender was setting up for a busy night. I saw Mark Colbert (soundman) and Mark Sadler (lighting) and we talked shop a while. I saw Samantha "Sam" Allen (venue manager) and we caught up as well. Soon I met and interviewed Richie Barnard, the website coordinator for the Little Rock Scene, whose 10 Year Anniversary we were here to celebrate.
  • Here's to Hutchinson, McCain and American revulsion at torture

    On Nov. 16, 1776, Gen. George Washington stood on the Jersey Palisades and peered across the Hudson River through his telescope as the British tortured American militiamen who had surrendered and then put them to the sword. Hearing the screams of his men, according to an aide, Washington turned and sobbed "with the tenderness of a child."
  • Easy on the pay raises

    An independent commission appointed by the governor, legislative leaders and the chief justice began work last week to fulfill part of Issue 3, the constitutional amendment that eased term limits, banned lobbyist gifts to legislators (sort of) and provided a mechanism for pay raises.

Latest in The Observer

  • Thankful

    This will be the last Observer for 2014, and The Observer has a lot of things to be thankful for in our 40th year on Planet Earth, system Sol, Milky Way Galaxy.
    • Dec 25, 2014
  • Full confession

    The Observer lingered a bit last week over the story of the 11-year-old from Bryant who nicked $10,000 from her grandma's sock drawer, hitchhiked to Little Rock in the dead of night, then hired a taxicab to take her to Jacksonville, Fla., apparently on a mission to see a boy she'd met on vacation a few years prior.
    • Dec 18, 2014
  • Show, don't tell

    What you're holding in your hands (or, as the case may be, staring at on a digital screen) is our soon-to-be-annual Fiction Issue, which contains the results of our recent contest for Arkansas writers.
    • Dec 11, 2014
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

December

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 29 30 31  

Most Viewed

  • Best and worst 2014

    It's our annual roundup of the year's dumbest, weirdest, oddest, strangest and all-around Arkansasiest.
  • The Internet gap in Arkansas education

    In which a state agency and the telecom industry gouge public schools for millions.
  • Don't get it 'Twisted'

    Also, sympathy for the plight of "The Interview," Alice Walton reportedly paying a lot for a coffee table and by the number, IKEA-style.
  • Thankful

    This will be the last Observer for 2014, and The Observer has a lot of things to be thankful for in our 40th year on Planet Earth, system Sol, Milky Way Galaxy.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation