Pass the Luck

October 2nd, 2009

I just got home from Birmingham, Alabama, where I got to speak at a luncheon in front of a BIG audience of Books-A-Million sales managers and buyers (hi, guys)!

A lot of people think being a writer is just sitting around writing books, then jetting off to sign those books for fans, and then getting served freshly sliced mangoes poolside and going to parties.

(I know I’m partly to blame for this misconception.)

But lot of it is also hard work like this:

And that’s only a small fraction of the books I signed in Alabama, pre-luncheon!

(It was fun while I was signing though, because I was kept entertained the whole time by the hilarious Books-A-Million Ladies about the scandalous doings of the Real Housewives. That crazy Kelly)!

Of course, I also got to hang out with Peter Lerangis, one of The 39 Clues authors (and no, he wouldn’t give me any of the clues).

The weird thing about my trip to Alabama though (besides the fact that when I walked into the hotel they were showing MY FACE on the welcome monitor behind the reception desk) was that in the gift shop they were selling T-shirts that said this:


Prayer…it’s not just for dinner anymore.

When I saw this T-shirt I freaked out.

And not just because my parents used to make us say grace before dinner every night.

But because right before I left for the airport to go to Birmingham, I got an email that totally had me praying.

That’s because my friend Michele told me that something terrible had happened to a good friend of hers: Her little daughter had been hit by a car and suffered a traumatic head injury, and was in the hospital in a coma.

I know, right? Oh my God!

When something like this happens, even to someone you don’t know well, you just feel so upset. There’s really nothing you can do to help…except, whether you’re a believer or not, pray.

Or, as I started to think of it, pass the luck.

I don’t know about luck. Sometimes when people say to me, “Oh, you’re so lucky!” I think, Really? I thought it was my hard work and maybe some talent that got me where I am. As sharp-shooters like to say, “Luck is 95% preparation, and 5% opportunity.”

This is true. If you’ve worked hard, hopefully you’ll be prepared when the opportunity presents itself to shine (or shoot a hostage-taker in the head).

On the other hand, some people get cancer, and other people with the exact same genetic background and lifestyle don’t. What’s up with that? It has to be luck, right?

So let’s say I am lucky. If that’s true, then how come I can’t, by thinking hard enough, shoot some of that luck toward someone else, even someone far away, someone I don’t know, who needs it more than me?

This should totally be possible.

Luck is a funny thing. Sometimes you have it, and sometimes you don’t. I think we can all agree that if luck exists, lately, I’ve been a pretty lucky person.

It wasn’t always this way, though! I had a patch of bad luck that lasted a loooong time. I won’t go into the details, because it will only depress you (and me).

But it wasn’t good.

When I heard about Michele’s friend—the 24 hours after I left for Birmingham were going to be critical in the little girl’s recovery. She would either start getting better, or get very much worse—the first thing I thought was, “If only we could pass our luck to someone else when they need it.”

All I was doing during the time this little girl was going to need all the luck in the world was going to Birmingham. What did I need my good luck for (if I even had good luck)?

So I closed my eyes and started praying to pass the good luck I’d been having for so long onto her.

I know what you’re wondering:

Did it work?

Well…the good news is: she didn’t get worse.

And I don’t want to sound like a whiner, but my bad luck started RIGHT AWAY! I got pegged as the Beauty Products Bomber by Key West airport security on my way out (even though they know me there because I go through that airport like once a week)!

All of my bags were summarily searched (as was I)! And I mean, SEARCHED.

(And they didn’t screw the tops to my bottles back on, so they leaked all over inside my bags. Yes. Everything I owned was covered in Cetaphil Facial Cleanser.)

And when I got to the next airport for my connecting flight, they made me go through security AGAIN, pegged me as the Beauty Products Bomber AGAIN, and made me so late, I was the last one on board!

And I had to sit by a stinky guy (excuse me, but it is the year 2009. There is such a thing as deodorant now).

And then when I got to my hotel room, the previous occupant had apparently been a baby with the poopiest diapers on the planet. He had pooped up the place really good, leaving behind the odor of baby diarrhea and Luvs Scented Disposables, a fragrance with a piquant flavor that really lingers.

And the windows of the room were bolted shut, apparently to keep people from jumping, which of course was my first inclination when the smell hit me.

That was why I was in the gift shop, trying to buy a scented candle (the cool girl in the gift shop, understanding the problem instantly, recommended Paddywax, Blood Orange), and I saw the Prayer T-shirt, and I realized, “Oh my God. My prayers to pass on my good luck must be working….”

Of course, I also got a new room. I mean, I’m not an idiot.

But my bad luck continued. When I got home, I discovered that, among other things, my cat needed a bath, for reasons you don’t want to know.

I think it’s safe to say my good luck has been passed successfully.

And I don’t mind. I can live without my good luck for a little while.


Though I’m not sure how long Henrietta can.

And maybe these things would have happened anyway, and had nothing to do with me passing my “luck” onto someone else.

But wouldn’t it be cool if there was such a thing as luck, and those of us who are having good luck streaks could pass our luck to others who are down on theirs, the way those of us with money can help those less fortunate?

What if we all concentrated on passing our luck to kids who need it more than we do? Then we wouldn’t need this guy:


Jizo, Japanese Good Luck Guardian of Children

Although I suppose he’s nice to have around anyway.

I just hope I can get my good luck back eventually. Because Henrietta really isn’t too happy right now.

More later.

Much love,

Meg