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Bucket Kicking 101

kick the bucket2

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Friday the 13th

I never really understood Friday the 13th. Is everyone on the planet supposed to have horribly bad luck on this day? Is there some sort of luck-karma built up that is all released on one day so every other day can be pleasant? It’s just a day, and I happen to like fridays, so why does it have to be bad luck all of a sudden? Why can’t it be a day of good luck? Like all of a sudden everyone wins the lottery, or all the lights turn green, or your boss says to take the day off? That’s not really even what I wonder about though; it’s superstitions in general. My theory is that superstitions just prevent us from doing stupid things that are really just common sense in the first place, and “bad luck” is just all of the pins you knock down while bowling down the ‘stupid lane’ with bumpers one. You hear people say “Don’t walk under a ladder, it’s bad luck.” “If a black cat walks across your path, it’s bad luck.” “If you open an umbrella inside, it’s bad luck.” “If you break a mirror…” etc.

Really, this is what I think happens:

Don’t walk under a ladder because that’s stupid. Something could fall on you, or you could knock it over.

If a black cat, probably a stray if it’s out alone, walks across your path then you’re probably in a bad neighborhood, so stay away from ‘black cats.’

If you open an umbrella inside you’ll just look stupid because it never rains inside.

And don’t break mirrors! Why would you break a mirror? It makes a huge mess and it sucks to replace. Furthermore you or someone else could end up stepping on glass. Be careful!

So just use some common sense… or else it’ll be bad luck.

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Highway

As I was driving down the interstate somewhere between the bay and Sacramento, an attractive young girl passed me on the right, but slowed down and stayed even with me. I looked over and she was looking back and giggling to herself. I may have raised an eyebrow or two, but couldn’t figure what the fuss was about. She seemed so blissfully lost in the moment of taking her red coupe across the state… Why do attractive girls always drive fast red cars?

I swerved a little and figured I should pay attention to the road more than I was, but I couldn’t help but keep looking back over at her. There’s something so captivating when you make contact with someone on the highway. You’re both zooming by at deathly speeds, yet you stop and take the time to look each other in the eye. There’s no pressure, no expectations, and no formalities. You’re not ‘supposed’ to meet people on the highway. You probably won’t ever see them again. It’s like seeing a person stripped down without all the defenses they wear or disguises they put up in order to function in society. If you don’t see anything worth looking at, you look away and move on, or conversely, you keep looking to see what will happen in this short amount of time.

She pressed a napkin against the window and wrote on it, holding the pen cap in her teeth, and then turned it around. It was a phone number, and from the look on her face, it was hers. I checked my rear view so I didn’t get pulled over for texting, but there was no one around. I typed the number down and gave her a thumbs up. She winked and then sped off.

I never did see her again. I pulled over at the next rest stop thinking she might be there. I called the number. “We’re sorry. This number cannot be completed as dialed. Please hang up, or–” I must have typed it down wrong. There’s no spellcheck for phone numbers. I waited at the rest stop for quite some time looking back in the direction I came. I don’t know why. Maybe I was waiting for her to pull in to the rest stop, but the truth was she was zooming down the highway. Our encounter was so brief that I didn’t know what to make of it until it was gone, so I got back in my car and decided I have a lot of road ahead of me; and a lot of driving left to do.

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I suppose as your writing teacher I’m supposed to give you an assignment. So for that assignment I would like you to write something.

Is that it?

Yes.

Just, anything?

No, something. Something in particular.

What does it need to be about?

Like I said, something.

Well, if there’s basically no rules, can I just sneeze on a piece of paper and turn it in?

This isn’t art class–there are rules here. I try to keep it simple, but you people keep trying to be creative and keep messing it up, so I don’t add any more rules. I’ve had many students try to write about anything and it never works out.

Okay, so how long does it need to be?

Write until you think I’m convinced, then stop.

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