Nearly a decade ago, when I was 16 years old, I went with my college Spanish class on a two-week study abroad to Querétaro, Mexico. At some point during this trip, I purchased a seriously ugly little rubber chicken from a young beggar girl, probably around age 7 or 8, and almost certainly homeless. I considered the chicken to be one of most hideous things I’d ever seen, but I’d wanted to help the little girl. Oddly, shortly after returning home, I began to notice certain aspects of my life improving. I found it bizarre that everywhere I took the rubber chicken good luck appeared to followed.
It didn’t take long before I found myself giving that ugly chicken credit for all my apparent good luck and soon refused to travel without him. That rubber chicken stayed with me through many stressful situations, such as test-taking, driving through a nasty rain or snow storm, etc. I’ve spent a lot of time traveling, sat in more than 25 airports, both foreign and domestic, and traveled to about a dozen foreign countries since Mexico, including Cuba (a country which, if you weren’t aware, doesn’t exactly welcome Americans with open arms!). Amazingly, throughout all these travels, I never experienced a canceled flight, or even so much as a delay, until my return from visiting a friend in Russia in the summer of 2009.
My flight from EKaterinburg to Frankfurt, Germany was badly delayed and so obviously, my flight from Frankfurt to Philadelphia was delayed just long enough to make me miss my final flight from Philadelphia to Portland, OR. This made it necessary to remain overnight in Philly, which was the last thing I wanted to do after approximately 48 hours of travel and absolutely no sleep and little food. When it hit me there was no way I’d be home that night I can clearly remember falling to the Philly airport floor sobbing as loudly as I could, and while crowds of people made their way around me, I reached into my purse, pulled out my “lucky” rubber chicken and violently ripped its head clean off. Not a good day for me.
A week or so later, my superstition with this chicken had been eating away at me, to the point of causing me literal fear. I knew I had to somehow “make it right” with my chicken ASAP. I couldn’t possibly return him to normal, so I simply reattached his severed head with the yellow string he came with. I haven’t traveled outside the U.S. since Russia, however, though I continue to offer this rubber chicken my utmost respects and gratitude for all the luck he’s so generously given to me. Recently, my husband and I finally moved from one bedroom in our house to the master bedroom and, to my utter dismay, the rubber chicken got misplaced at some point during the move. He was gone for about two months, and just the other day, miraculously popped up within a small box holding a bunch of pens and pencils– sitting on the top shelf of the closet. I Immediately took him out and placed him high on a shelf with my other most valuable possession.
I’ve literally lost count of all the amazing good luck that’s come my way since then. AT&T lowered our phone bill, a friend gave us ten or fifteen smokes when we ran out, free of charge, one of my favorite sweatshirt hoodies turned up out of the blue after I’d given up ever finding it again, and the list goes on and on. So, is there really such a thing as luck or “lucky charms” or is it all simply coincidence. Of course, you probably needn’t read the whole article to guess my own personal answer to that. I 100% believe in my lucky rubber chicken and, in fact, I’d even be fearful to try to deny it. Some in the religious arena might call this a false idol, so to those people I must assure you that I do not in any way worship the friggin’ rubber chicken. I just hold a little healthy respect for things I don’t understand.
There are many people who claim that their lives are in no way influenced by superstition, yet all too often these are the same people you will see tossing a pinch of salt over their shoulders when they’ve tipped over the salt shaker. Of course, they typically try to make sure no one is watching to avoid possible embarrassment because of their superstition.
According to a 2008 ScienceDaily study, businesses throughout the U.S. lose an average of $800 to $900 MILLION on Friday the 13th, unarguably the most unlucky and dreaded day known to man.
In general superstitions most often arise during a stressful situation or event, so it’s really no surprise that with team sports, their fans, and many celebrities, they are especially famous for having a seemingly infinite number of superstitious eccentricities.
For example, New York Mets reliever, Turk Wendell, is known for his strong superstitious beliefs. He can be seen chewing black licorice while pitching, brushing his teeth between innings, and wearing a necklace decorated with the sharp teeth of wild animals he’s hunted and killed.
While most superstitions are relatively harmless, there are others which go beyond the bizarre and swan dive straight into the disturbing. Take, for instance, the ritual of UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Lyoto Machida, who actually drinks his own urine each morning. Your reaction will likely be the same as my own, but please take note, he does this out of a belief that the urine contains a natural medicine rather than for any purpose which most would consider twisted and/or disgusting. Personally, even if he were correct, I could never bring myself to actually consume my own urine. However, I am not Machida, who has yet to lose a single round!
Researchers have concluded that “activating a superstition boosts participants confidence in mastering upcoming tasks, which in turn improved performance”.
Me, I guess I’ll just have to hang onto my old lucky rubber chicken.