The Word Foundation



Vol. 24 JANUARY, 1917. No. 4

Copyright, 1917, by H. W. PERCIVAL.


Good Luck and Bad Luck

THERE is what is called good luck and there is what is called bad luck. Some people are, at times, unusually successful, some ill-fated. The man of good luck feels that he will succeed in what he does; the unlucky man has a presentiment of failure or disaster. When it comes he says, “Just my luck.” The points now are, not to look for underlying causes and ulterior purposes, nor for a philosophy and final explanation, but to consider that, on the surface at least, there are such things as good luck and bad luck in mundane affairs, and to show the connection of nature ghosts with the luck, including instances due to curses and blessings, and the use of talismans.

There are some persons who are attended by good luck. To them nearly all happenings are favorable. Some men in business find whatever ventures they embark upon resolve themselves to their advantage, their business connections bring them money; what seems to be a chance purchase falling in their way becomes a money-making deal. Such as come to them for employment prove to be valuable and work harmoniously in with their current of good luck. At certain business offers which promise success, such men balk. Something they cannot understand tells them not to engage. In spite of their reason, which shows them the opportunity to be a good one and advantageous, they stay out. This something keeps them out. Later it is seen that the enterprise was a failure or at least that it would have caused loss to them. They say, “My good luck kept me out.”

In railroad wrecks, sinking ships, falling buildings, fires, inundations, fights, and such general calamities, there are always lucky persons, whose good luck keeps them out of the danger or leads them through. There are some who are reputed to have a charmed life, and knowledge of their history would seem to prove the report true.

In the lives of soldiers luck plays an important part indeed. Hardly a life history of a fighter on land or sea is recorded which does not show that luck had much to do with their success or defeat. Luck prevented their mistakes from being discovered or availed of by the enemy; luck prevented them from doing what they had planned and what would have been disastrous; luck led them into openings the enemy had left weak or unguarded; luck brought them succor in time; and luck prevented assistance from reaching the enemy until too late under the circumstances. Luck saved their lives when death was imminent.

Some farmers have good luck. They plant the crops which succeed and which are in demand for that season, and they do not plant the crops which owing to some unforeseen cause fail that season. Or if they do plant crops which are generally a failure, their crops are a success. Their products are ready for sale when the market is good. Valuable things like minerals or oil, are discovered on their land, or a town springs up in their neighborhood. All this is aside from any proficiency the husbandman may show.

Some men will buy real property, against advice and their shrewd business judgment. They buy because something tells them it will be a good purchase. It may be that they hold on to it against sound advice. Then suddenly somebody turns up who wants the property for a special purpose and pays them a handsome profit, or the tide of business moves captiously to the section and the place of their holdings.

Investors in stocks, about which they know nothing, sometimes buy into property the value of which then increases, and they will refuse to buy, nothwithstanding the counsel of experts, and then find that their own impression was lucky. Ignorant and weak men engaged in lowly occupations, will suddenly be lifted by their good luck into fortune, irrespective of their industry or calculations.

Some people following dangerous occupations are lucky. They escape injuries such as others about them sustain. At moments when the lucky man would be the victim, something happens, his good luck, which prevents him from being at the place of the accident. This may continue through years of hazardous work.

Some mechanics are lucky, some unlucky in their work. The results some produce are to their credit apart from the merits. They may work without care, yet that is not discovered, or the want of care brings no bad results. They may do inferior work, but by good luck are not called to account.

Doctors, that is, medical practitioners and surgeons, are often favored by luck. Their so-called cures are fortunate turns, without or even against their agency, for the best, and for which they are given credit. The outcome of many of their successful operations is mere luck. Deaths they can do nothing to prevent, do not take place after all, and the doctors are reputed to have saved the life of their patients. The numerous mistakes such lucky men make, remain undiscovered. Unfortunate conditions of the patient which they have brought about are not charged to them. All this is so, and was so, irrespective of the mysteries, policy and mutual protection measures the medical men have always employed and still employ. Some of them are lucky. Patients who seemingly ought to die get better and even recover when they come into contact with a lucky doctor. The gross carelessness and indifference some of these practitioners exhibit will not interfere with the luck, while it follows them.

There are collectors of books, curiosities, paintings, objects of art, to whom valuable and rare things come unsought and unlooked for and at a low price. An object for which they have long searched suddenly is offered to them unexpectedly. Lucky acquisitions.

Some artists are lucky, but such are usually not real artists. They come into fashion, they obtain a reputation, make connections with fanciful, wealthy patrons, and so their output of paintings, sculptures or architectural designs is profitably disposed of. They have luck. This comes to them irrespective of business ability they have, or efforts they make.

There are on the other hand, some persons who have bad luck. That seems much more pronounced than the good luck of the others. Whatever such unlucky persons undertake to do, results in a wordly disadvantage, and sometimes to them and to others. What is true of persons having luck, is true in the opposite sense of those who are unlucky. This unlucky feature of life does not apply to the shiftless, slothful, unfriendly, tactless, ignorant and careless ones who seemingly deserve their ill adventures. The luck is such because it befalls persons steadily, and apparently against the order of things which is commonly considered to be usual and natural.

The unlucky man, in spite of all toil, foresight, and precaution to avoid trouble, runs into bad luck. His work will be blasted, his plans blighted. Just when his plans are laid to bring success, some inopportune event occurs which spells failure. A building he bought at a bargain, burns down before he can get insurance on it. Timber land he inherited is ravaged by a fire from a camp. He loses a law suit through the failure of a witness to remember at the particular moment of speaking in court, or through the loss of a document, or through the neglect of his lawyer, or through the prejudice or indisposition of a judge.

No man can act perfectly, carefully and correctly at all times. Everybody makes some mistakes, is unmindful in some respects. Yet where a hundred blunders remain undiscovered with a lucky man or some of them even are turned to his advantage, there with the unlucky man one small mistake or item of trivial neglect will be a factor, bringing failure to his plans, or it will be discovered and cause him discredit out of all proportions to the smallness of the shortcoming.

Again, no man is independent. Everybody has to rely upon working with others, or upon the work furnished by others. In the case of an unlucky man the bad luck, if it cannot break in upon him in any other way, will come as the result of some error or failure of one of the persons on whose assistance he has to depend.

As the lucky man avoids accidents, so the unlucky is led on, brought from afar, to be there at the proper time and participate in the disaster and have his bad luck. There are some persons who without precaution and under adverse conditions, will escape contagious diseases, but the unlucky man will, no matter how careful and regular his actions, be a victim. The home of the unlucky man is selected by burglars for entering and they will be led to the hiding place of his valuables.

Luck may affect the worldly aspect of all activities, relations, and institutions of men and women not only in and about business, making contracts, buying and selling, law suits, elections, employment, the work of the farmer, mechanic, professional and artist, all manual and mental labor, inventions, war, escape from disaster and commission of crimes with impunity, affliction with ailments, but even marital and family relations are affected by luck. Some men are lucky in having wives who stand neglect and temptation, and wait patiently at home for the husband. On the other hand some men are so unlucky that though they spend all their time and energy for their wife and family, the wife will play false for years. Women too are lucky and unlucky in a similar way with husbands and others.

The aspect which distinguishes luck is, that good luck and bad luck are occurrences which are out of proportion to the general order and course of things. The feature is that these occurrences are abnormal. There is nothing to show that they are deserved, are just. A fatality seems to govern the life of people in which good luck and bad luck are prominent.

To be continued.

In the next issue of The Word will be shown how man creates a Good Luck Ghost.