Are you superstitious?
If you answered, Superstitious? Me? No. No! What a lot of rubbish, that! – then you would make a lousy Englishman, in spite of your veddy British affectation. The English are great believers in luck.
We’re all a little superstitious, aren’t we? Every human culture has deeply ingrained reflexes based on our most ancient fears and beliefs. We may no longer subscribe to (or even be aware of) their origins… but these very old habits are the hardest to break.
There is also very little to be gained by purging your programming of these harmless subroutines. Especially the ones designed to bring luck. Who doesn’t need a little extra luck now and then?
Since there was a time when the sun never set on the British Empire, English superstitions found their way into other cultures all over the world. Now, you could make the case that the English must not be very lucky, as they lost or gave away most of that real estate portfolio in the last hundred years. Let’s face it: they’re down to the ‘Home Island’ plus that nasty bit of rocks down by Antarctica they call “the Falklands” (known to most of the world as los Malvinas). And now even Scotland is running for the exit… So why would anyone put any stock in England’s good luck charms? What good are they? Well… I suppose one could argue that – but for a little bit of luck – the English would be sprechen Deutsch today. Right then! Off you go.
I woke up this Saturday morning when Bernardo jumped up on the bed and joined Tiger who was already snuggled under the covers. “Good morning, B!” I said as I scratched his head with one hand and grabbed my phone with the other. And there it was, right next to the (always sunny) weather icon: 1 FEB 2014.
Aaaaarrrrrgggggh! Too late! But I said it anyway – just in case it might somehow apply retroactively. “Rabbit rabbit.” I think I learned this from my friend Laird when we were kids. (She is a powerful witch and has taught me a great many things along the way, so I hang on to her like a talisman.) On the first day of the month, if the first words you say aloud are “rabbit rabbit” you’ll have good luck that month. There are variations on the theme: Say “rabbit” thrice, or “White rabbit”. But the key ingredient is rabbit. “Duck Duck Goose”, for example, won’t work.
More often than not, I fail at this simple spell. But sometimes, I get lucky and remember to say it first. And that’s as good a way as any to start off a new month. Now, I need an alternative good luck charm for February. I might be tempted to make a rather ribald remark about touching wood. But this is a family blog.