Thursday, February 10, 2005

Lady Luck and the Step Ladder

Construction and modification continue at the new office building. Arriving at work this morning, I noticed a large step ladder blocking the path down the hall. While carelessly ducking under it to get past, a trace of superstition came upon my mind for contemplation and I found myself light-heartedly joking to myself on the possible state of my luck over the next seven years - or was that only for broken mirrors? I can never remember.

As it happens, the day as it unfolded was not one of the greatest. For a start, I was feeling a little drowsy due to lack of sleep the night before; the volunteer for the day called in sick, leaving me with nearly double the usual work load and on top of that, one of our nurses was involved in a car accident on their way to see a client. After work I was stuck in a traffic jam for nearly an hour on the way to Mum's and when I got there, I discovered that I had forgotten the modem drivers that I was going to install.

Of course I don't believe in all of that superstitious nonsense, that the ladder in the morning had anything at all to do with the incidents of the day, yet somehow I can't help surmising that perhaps had I not stepped under that ladder, things may have been different. I wonder whether the day would have been the same, had I not been aware of the superstitions associated with walking under ladders or if I honestly believed that this act would bring grave misfortune.

I am currently re-reading The Richest Man in Babylon and have coincidentally come to the chapter on luck, the Babylonian Goddess of Good Luck and ways she can be seduced or something like that. I also just finished reading quite a good book called The Broken Dice, all about the metaphysics of chance and luck, the author tying it all together nicely with tales from Norweigan folklore.

Alexander entering Babylon - Le Brun, c. 1664


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