Dumb Luck

Still luckier than this guy.

My teams never win. I’ve always been in the wrong place at the wrong time. Cards and love have both proved hapless. And for a Jew, I might as well be Irish.

Unlike my younger son Zach and best friend Tony, I’ve never been especially lucky. I’m not sure why exactly, but it’s been this way for as long as I can remember. Some people (read: non-Jews) believe that we make our own luck and if that’s true, I definitely took a wrong turn somewhere when I lost a testicle. Hell, I can’t even get into Serendipity.

The closest I’ve ever come to winning the lottery was finishing the Shirley Jackson short story and I’m usually drowning at the bottom of Super Bowl and March Madness pools. Although, believe it or not, I have won two contests!

The first one was nearly 25 years ago. My ex-wife Caryn handed me a page from Esquire that invited readers to submit an essay in 100 words or less called “Why You Would Marry Her All Over Again.”

“You should enter this!” she insisted.

“I’ll win,” I said, matter-of-factly.

And I did! I wrote some corny stuff about her laugh and how we watched Knicks games together, but the kicker was what presumably put me over the top: “And we still haven’t had our first child.”

The prizes were a $5,000 diamond ring and a trip to anywhere in the country to eat at the fancy restaurant of our choice. Instead, some cool guy in the magazine’s promotions department agreed to pay for a trip to Joplin, Missouri where we went to court in order to officially adopt Robbie, our first child.

The second contest was several years later when I was the editor of a sports business magazine and was at a trade show in Atlanta. A manufacturer of one of those big-ass, portable basketball backboard and hoop things was giving one away to anyone who could sink an NBA three-pointer.

And again, I did! We were living in an apartment in Forest Hills at the time and had to store it in its original giant box in the basement. We left it there unopened when we moved to Long Island a few years later.

I’m telling you these stories because luck had nothing to do with either of them. It was pure skill, my friends (full disclosure: the trey banked in), and I’ve always prided myself on that. But I think my luck may be changing.

I’d tell you more about her, but I don’t want to jinx it.

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