On Luck, Dented Skulls & Monsters

The green dragon. Image from www.casinocashjourney.com

Goldfish is my name, because I’m hiding from two very horrible monsters. They really are monsters in the world. I know two of them. One is a pedophile, the other is a violent sociopath, which brings me around to what I was planning to talk about today: luck.

Depending on the fullness of your cup, I’m either incredibly lucky or incredibly unlucky. You see, a lot of things have nearly killed me, yet I’m still here.

For example, things that have nearly killed me:

  • Pneumococcal meningitis. The treatment was penicillin. I’m allergic to penicillin.
  • Attacked by a large dog at roughly five years old.
  • Monster #1 – a sadistic pedophile (he didn’t technically try to kill me, but he did threaten to kill me if I told anyone. I think it counts.)
  • A boat accident. I nearly drowned. Instead, it just knocked a tooth out and left me with part of a bone jutting out of my jaw line. It still juts.
  • Skin cancer.
  • Crack cocaine. Lots of it.
  • Being homeless in the middle of winter.
  • Prostitution.
  • A stage light. It dented my skull, gave me a 4.5 inch scar and left my brain way less useful than it found it.
  • Many, many car accidents.
  • More skin cancer.
  • Monster #2 – an abusive sociopath. He tried to kill me more often than anything else on this list.
  • More substance abuse – heroin, alcohol, cocaine, more crack, etc.
  • Myself. Well, really it’s major depressive disorder, but close enough.

Am I forgetting anything? I’m not sure.

That’s not a very long list, but most of the bullet points are things you really don’t want to have happen to you. Some of you have experience with some of those things. If you drive a car, you’ve probably been in a car accident at some point. I really hope most of those things leave you aghast instead of nodding your head.

The circumstances of my life–the injustice and unfairness of it–have led me to believe in not much of anything. I am pretty sure that the last thing I took on faith was Santa Claus. That ended by a thorough handwriting analysis around the age of five. Since then, I don’t recall believing in much of anything. I take nothing on faith. I have none.

I used to want to believe in justice. I wanted to believe so badly that the monsters would get what they deserved. It was the only way I could keep going. I had to believe that evil could not triumph.

Had I known then what I know now–that both monsters would live free for at least fifteen years without ever being brought to justice, that they would still contact me from time to time as if nothing had happened, and that they would continue to create fresh victims–I would have done something. It might have been something I regretted, but it might not. I might have killed them myself. I would be in prison, but at least, there would have been no more victims. Sometimes, I really think it would have been worth it. Fortunately, I didn’t know the future so the point is moot.

There’s a thing called survivor’s guilt where a person perceives themselves to have done wrong by surviving a traumatic event when others did not. I experience a variation on that every time I do an internet search for the monsters. It’s not that I feel guilty for having survived necessarily, but that I couldn’t stop the monsters. I really don’t know how many victims there were after me, but there shouldn’t have been any. Things like that shouldn’t happen in this world, but they do. And it makes me very angry.

So, luck–I don’t believe in it. I believe in odds, chance and coincidence. When I’m playing Mahjong, there is a certain amount of chance involved, but it’s also not all that random. There are only so many tiles and the tiles that have already been discarded are visible, so if I’m looking for a green dragon and I see two green dragons already on the discard pile, I know that the odds of getting three green dragons are nil.

Mahjong, Chengdu, China. Flickr.
The best game ever. Mahjong, Chengdu, China.

Life is pretty much the same way, only you don’t really get to see the discard pile and there is no limit to the number of tiles. Some people get green dragon after green dragon, while others get nothing but 2s, 5s and 8s of different suits, but not enough to pong or kong.

The green dragon. Image from www.casinocashjourney.com
The green dragon.

If I did believe in luck, I’d probably have no choice but to say mine is rotten. You glass half-full types might think I’m incredibly lucky to have survived all that. Sometimes, I think that, too, but mostly I think luck is a shitty thing to have to worry about, so I don’t.

So, what do you think? Do you believe in luck? Am I lucky to be alive after all that? Or have I had some really awful luck to have experienced all of those things in the first place? Also, do you play Mahjong?