The unpredictable luck that excites all of us...

Posted by Tandarin Nike Thursday, February 4, 2010 1:08 PM
I hate people who say “things happen for a reason”

They say this to make you feel better after something bad happens. But, really, things happen for a non-reason; if you have to call it something, then call it “luck.”

Still, just because luck has a name, do not think it is something you can define or control.

Things happen when an uncountable number of random forces converge in one particular time and place. You can look back and try to simplify and explain it afterwards. You can even use “bad luck” as an excuse for something bad happening, if it makes you feel better.

But luck always hides behind the elusive, intangible sway of events, like a ghost horse that cannot be harnessed.

An outcome is based on luck, skill and effort, with the last two factors more or less connected with experience. The luck aspect is what makes any outcome unpredictable in spite of skill and effort. And that unpredictability is what makes life, games, sports, and movies very exciting.

Who would want to play a game or watch a sport or movie in which the outcome is already known?

That is why games involving the right balance of luck and skill are so addictive and popular. A game or sport that is all skill and no luck would be boring and discouraging to beginners and players alike.

A game that is all luck and no skill would provide no motivation for players to become skilled and try to win. Of course, when money is involved, the stakes are higher, and wins and losses become all the more important.

Even when playing a free, pointless video game on a home computer, getting your highest score ever by a combination of a lucky screen, good timing, and practice, is a definite way to get a surge of excitement.
At the most important life-changing moments in our lives, luck closes the deal. So, if you want to carry a rabbit’s foot around, go ahead if it makes you feel more optimistic and less worried. But get a synthetic, bright blue, faux rabbit’s foot instead please.

Defenseless rabbits themselves don’t seem to have lives charmed by good luck, in spite of their allegedly fortunate feet; they’re relentlessly chased and eaten by foxes, coyotes, weasels, owls, hawks, snakes, and now humans.

You can carry any kind of amulet, but respect the fact that the element of luck, good or bad, has nothing to do with you. Things happen for non-reasons, which are random, infinitely complicated, and impersonal.

You are just an ordinary person without a crystal ball, connected to and affected by the outside world, who cannot possibly be aware of all the factors that will lead to the outcome you so desperately want.

Luck propels you across that juncture, the longest seconds of your life, when you wait; hand on the phone, for an answer, yes or no. You got the job. Your biopsy was negative. The micro-seconds when the cricket ball rolls off the fielder’s hand. The pauses before you pick up your cards.

Meanwhile the hypothetical rabbit dives into its burrow, seconds ahead of the fox; safe for today.

What a relief it is, though this could eventually be short lived.

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