When I was in high school, I had this superstition about washing my practice shorts for basketball. Granted, it began because I never remembered to put the shorts in laundry basket, opting instead for the floor of my closet, but after a few good practices, seldom would I allow my mom to wash the shorts. In my mind, washing the stink off of those shorts would surely mean washing off any ability I might have had to play well on the court. But this is how superstitions work.
Sometimes it is a rabbit’s foot, a four leaf clover, a horseshoe, how you get dressed in the morning, tapping on a sign on your way out of your football locker room before a game, or a pair of gym socks that could run on their own, a daily routine before work, or a penny we picked up off of the street, ignoring any possible communicable disease because it was head’s up, to be our talisman. We carry, wear, or go through these items and routines because we have attributed any success or good that has happened to us to these items’ believed mystical charms.
I have already made my New Year’s Resolution to not allow luck to be my divining rod to success. Also, I’m not much on superstitions these days unless you count making Kraft Macaroni and Cheese every Wednesday night as the sure fire way to get my kids to eat something, as one. I have abandoned the unwashed shorts (actually I ceremonially burnt them years ago to avoid a call from the CDC), I put my shoes on by whichever I can slip on without untying first, and I have stepped on lots of cracks and never once had to visit my mom in the hospital for a broken back. Superstition had no real place in my life anymore. That being said, I have recently found myself clinging to a new superstition (thankfully one that had nothing to do with not washing my clothing).
This superstition has been about a kiss. Actually two kisses.
I started a new job about a month ago. In 2011, starting a new job had become almost as regular an occurrence as Mondays coming after Sundays but this one has been different. This newest position is one I have a particular affection towards. One I truly enjoy and would like to keep so I am working as hard as I can to do just that. I’m enthusiastic, energetic, excited, and just about any other ‘e’ word you can think of every morning before I go. It is a job I would like to keep.
One particular morning, on my way out the door, I went through my round of ‘goodbyes’ to my family. I pet the dog on her head, kissed the kids, kissed my wife and headed towards the door. Before I pulled away, I remembered I had forgotten my cup of coffee in the house. Barring actually being in the parking lot at work, I would have gone back for the coffee, so I got out of the car and headed back inside. I grabbed the cup, pet the dog, said ‘goodbye’ to the kids, and kissed my wife again. For a second time.
That day resulted in my first sale at my new job and thus the superstition of two kisses was born. Every morning since then, I have gone through my regular routine of ‘goodbye’ in no particular order or type. Sometimes (especially if I’m tired) I pet the kids and kiss the dog. But always, before I leave the house and barring actually being in the parking lot at work, I don’t start my day without two kisses.
Sometimes the second kiss has done its job and the mystical powers that be have bestowed success to me. Sometimes not. But always two kisses from my wife’s magical lips.
I understand why I never washed my shorts, why some people rub a rabbit’s foot, put their hand to a locker room sign, or keep the penny crawling with botulism in their pocket. When you have something good going for you, you want to keep it going. Even if, in order to keep it going, you put that success in the hands (or paws or stink or chance of disease) of a something that you think helped with the initial success.
I also understand that superstitions may be construed as silly. To be no more effective at enhancing success as aligning your life to horoscopes’ advice and fortune cookies (my apologies to those of you believing “Every Exit is an Entrance to a New Experience”). Down not so deep, I understand that my success does not have anything to do with whether or not I have a lucky talisman, wear a certain piece of clothing everyday, or if I get two kisses from my wife before I walk out the door but I don’t care. Because whether I am a success or not, I can’t think of a better way to start my day than with two kisses.