Inktober 30th, 2020: Ominous

When I was growing up there was a kid who had a Rabbit’s Foot in his pocket for good luck. Horseshoes were put over doorways, but in the U shape, to contain the luck, and not in the upside down Omega shape, which would make all the good luck run out. Seven was considered a lucky number.

And thirteen was considered unlucky. Walking under ladders, spilling salt, breaking a mirror, having a black cat cross your path. And if you stepped on a crack you could break your mother’s back.

Of course, different cultures have different notions. My college sweetheart, of Japanese ancestry, was horrified when I ladled something from the stove onto a plate, and tipped it away from me. “DON’T DO THAT,” she said. “When you do that, you’re pointing at a dead person.” She also told me that for every tsubu (grain) of go-han (rice) I left in my bowl, a child would be starving.

I have my personal superstitions, and I imagine everyone else does too. I have two that relate to oral hygiene. The first one is that I must never run out of dental floss. If I don’t have another dispenser of floss waiting in the wings when the last bit of floss comes out of the dispenser I’m using, it means I will endure poverty in the immediate future. And the second one is that whenever I intend to floss or brush my teeth, or (usually) both, I MUST look in the mirror and say, “Be careful.” If I don’t, something terrible will happen when I tend to my teeth.

It’s silly, but it’s real. We are comforted when we do some of these things, and we are discomfited when certain other things occur. Nor should we stop just because we are being irrational. If it does no harm, it does some good.

When I learned that today’s prompt was “ominous,” the first thing I thought of was the connection to the word Omen. And when I did, a little drama with a “Lady or the Tiger” ending unfolded. And good noticers will see one reason why going for the money might bring Bad Luck.

2020 1030 inktober ominous

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