What is luck?
One of the many definitions is offered by the Cambridge English Dictionary: “The force that causes things, especially good things, to happen to you by chance and not as a result of your own efforts or abilities: It was just luck.”
I’ve never considered myself particularly lucky. On the contrary, I have never thought myself unlucky. I have always relied on my own abilities and skills. Whenever I enter into a game of pure chance, I have no expectation of success. When I buy a raffle ticket or football square I consider that a ‘donation.’ If ever a winner, and they are few and far between, I think statistically, I was way overdue. Nature’s way of balancing the universe – not luck.
Card games are a little different. There is certainly skill involve in poker, euchre and many other games. But you still need to get the cards to win. That is purely chance. I much prefer games where you are equally equipped as your opponents and start the game completely even. Could be as simple as checkers or complex as chess. Playing Battleship as a youth was great fun, as long as your opponent was honest about how your salvos landed. Nothing worse than realizing that their aircraft carrier (5 hits to sink) couldn’t possibly be still in play based on your shot pattern. That didn’t happen too often fortunately.
Some may consider my educational opportunities “lucky,” and to some degree that could be true. However, I still had to do the work and perform to be able to succeed. Still others could contend that I was ‘lucky’ to find a spouse. That may have merit but I did work at that until I was 28. I did marry a fine woman and we are still going strong 40 years later. You better believe that has taken some work, not luck, to stay happily married all these years. The same can be said of our family, ‘lucky’ to have such wonderful children but just ask my missus, THAT took a lot of work! Great kids all successful but a lot of work.
Now as I look back on things I may have indeed been lucky. I imagine my mom and dad cruising along with a family of three teenage boys, comfortably living but certainly not well to do. I wonder if my dad was anticipating that day when these three would leave the nest and go off on their own. I don’t think my mom was thinking too much about that although I’m sure there were moments. As I youth I never quite understood people’s curiosity when they would ask who my brothers were and I would tell them. I would explain that, yeah, he’s older but so what? Doesn’t everyone have older siblings? What’s the big deal? It wasn’t until much later in life that it struck me that I was most likely an accident. A lucky accident from my point of view. I’m just glad to be here. I never really discussed this with my parents, I’m sure my mom was happy to have a baby around again but I often wonder what my dad’s thoughts were when he heard the words, “guess what dear?” I hope in time he was glad to have ignored his first instincts to hang himself and eventually thought all in all, it wasn’t that bad.
Considering all this, I guess I am lucky, or even blessed!
Mike Miller lives in Monroe. He can be reached at [email protected]