Monday, February 15, 2010

Super Stitches

© 2010 by Joyce Mason
All Rights Reserved

I’m not that superstitious. I accentuate the positive and avoid giving back luck and bad vibes any more energy than they deserve—when I can pull off, that means none. I also know how to protect myself from a spiritual perspective, and in general, I feel safe.

My Vedic astrologer says I have what’s tantamount to a good luck charm in my chart. Another friend insists I have what she calls magic dust. If she’s right, most of my magical powers are about as innocuous as Samantha’s on “Bewitched.” That said, I actually think black cats are good omens, and I barely wince when I break a mirror. I do admit, even though Mom is long gone; I still get a little nervous on sidewalks when I step on cracks.(“You’ll break your mother’s back!”) Most of my reactions to the tried-and-true jinxes and ‘stitions are lukewarm … except for one that’s red hot. The two-dollar bill.

Speaking of Mom, I inherited this superstition from her. Like my fear of water, I was always highly susceptible to transfer of my mom’s fears. I’m sure this speaks to the depth of our bonding and psychic cords.

There’s a doozy of a story about why two-buck bills gave her the creeps. Her telling of it was so vivid; I feel like I actually witnessed the incident.

My brother Don and our cousin Lee, close-in age-cousins who got in a lot of trouble together as kids, were on some excursion in the 1940s when they were young men in their late teens. They were on joy ride in the country when they parked beside a lookout point with a great view. They were leaning against the car having a smoke. All of a sudden, there was a miniscule movement. Before they knew it, they had barely caught their balance before going over the cliff with the car. One of them had not engaged the brake.

Don was carrying a two-dollar bill at the time. This unusual denomination became Mom’s personal demon, and she would never carry one again. She blamed the bill on her son and nephew’s near-death experience. Frankly, I thought the fact that they were saved was cause to celebrate. If the two-buck bill was anything, it was their good luck charm. Still, annihilating a vehicle isn’t exactly a good day …

… but none of this reason would ever erase this deeply imbedded family folklore from my mind. The two-dollar bill is so rare; I have hardly ever had to face how it turns me into a blithering idiot on sight.

I hadn’t seen one for years until one arrived in the mail for an advertising promotion. Time or People Magazine? Who knows—or cares. All I knew was that a two-dollar bill had wormed its way into my house, and now I had to do something to get rid of it.

I’ll confess outright; I was afraid to put it in my wallet and drive anywhere with it. Irrational, silly, superstitious—whatever you call it, I cop to them all. No way, no how were that bill and I traveling together in a moving vehicle.

I pondered it for a long time. I wanted to do something useful with the $2, but I didn’t want to evoke the Demon of the Two-Dollar Bill. I considered sending it to my niece or nephew in their Valentine, but if the demon got loose, that might harm them. Out of the question. At some point, I realized that if I couldn’t drive with it on me, the farthest I could go with it would be to walk it to the mailbox. This meant passing it onto someone through the US mail. How could I send it to good and avert disaster?

 While I continued to contemplate this dilemma, I got to thinking about my bamboo plant in my Money Corner (good Feng Shui for wealth) and my Greek glass eye to ward off evil … and how comforted I feel by having a Holly plant near my front door, good for protection. I was starting to think, just maybe, that I’d have to revise my self-assessment about not being very superstitious.

One day it just came to me; give it to Haiti relief. The poor Haitians already had all the bad luck anyone could hold for this season of their collective lives. I didn’t see how it could possibly harm further people who were already devastated. I looked up a list of charities collecting money to help the Haitians rebuild their communities. I sent the $2 to Mercy Corps. I’m sure the word “mercy” in and of itself would erase any bad juju and the $2 would be blessed by a wonderful organization that has provided humanitarian relief around the world since 1979.

Now that I’ve handled that unbidden two bucks, I couldn’t help but wonder. Does this mean I have to give up drinking two-buck Chuck?*


*For those unfamiliar with it, two-buck Chuck refers is wine sold exclusively at Trader Joe’s from Charles Shaw Winery at $1.99 per bottle. My favorite it the Shiraz. Hard to believe how good it is for the price!

Photo Credits: TWO DOLLAR BILL © Savone
EVIL EYE (AMULET) © Eliferen

Comment Prompt: What are your superstitions? Like mine, do they leave you in stitches when you really think—and laugh—about them?

Blog Comment Contest! Don’t forget to comment for entry into this week’s Valentine’s Month comment contest. Comments on any post qualify according to the guidelines in the original announcement. Need a how-to on commenting? Click on The Cosmos Comments.

Winner of Week 2 Comment Contest: Congratulations to Pop Art Diva of Southern CA who won a copy of my e-book, The Training Tape, in the Valentine’s Month comment contest. Week 2 ran from Feb. 8-14. Comment this week for another opportunity to win!


Pop Art Diva said...

I dislike the $2 bill for a totally non-superstitious reason - it's too easy to forget that it's worth $2 when you're dealing with it and you can easily hand it over as a one-dollar bill! Same goes for the Susan B. Anthony dollars they issued ages ago - they got spent like quarters way to often!

I think we all have superstitions - ones we grew up with and ones we create ourselves when an action repeatedly creates the same result.

Unless these superstitions become so powerful they interfere with living a full and happy life then I see no harm in the feeling of control they give us. Note I said "feeling" - no real control is involved, lol.

I loved the story about the car and your Mom's brother & cousin.

Thanks for my lovely e-book - I am going to read it and enjoy your sage advice to the hilt!

Joyce Mason said...

Hi, Pop Art--always a winner, contest or not!

You have a good point on denominations that can be mistaken for smaller ones where you end up cheating yourself out of some cash. I share your thought that superstitions, unless you're over the top with them, are pretty innocuous. I especially agree with the thing about control. The longer I live, the longer I know that control is a pure illusion!

The story was actually about my brother and cousin--Mom's son and nephew. My bro was 16-years older than me, so it's easy for people to misplace him in another generation. Glad you liked the story. It was very magical having a brother so much older than me. I'm sure he's where I got my love for Auntie Mame, because he lived just like her--large and flamboyantly. He is still bigger than life for me, even though he's been gone since 2002.

You are so welcome on the e-book. Thanks for being a loyal, regular reader of Hot Flashbacks!

Susannah said...

Oooh, that is a tricky one - superstitions, my first thought was that I am not superstitious at all, but then I read down further to the 'breaking a mirror' and that gave me a little shiver!

These things run deeper than I thought! lol

I think it is because they are handed down and you observe others being fearful of certain things you take on the 'seriousness'!

I can easily walk under ladders, the black cat one was never an issue or the cracks in the pavement - but if I spill salt I still throw some over my left shoulder and I really wouldn't like to break a mirror! and of course there is always the compulsion to 'touch wood'.

Mmm, I think I was kidding myself when I thought I didn't have any superstitions! :-)

Nice post Joyce, I enjoyed hearing your story.

Joyce Mason said...

Hi, Susannah! Glad to know I'm not the only "unsuperstitious" person who still has her little superstitions.:) Even though we discovered it in good humor, the contagious factor in fear is serious. The times are especially challenging in that regard when it comes to economic and socio-political issues. The politicians and leaders who tend to fuel fears and take advantage of their tendency to spread like wildfire need to be called to task for their ethics, IMHO. It goes back to my favorite quote from A Course in Miracles, which has the philosophy that the opposite of fear is love, "Teach only love--for that is what we are." Amen!

Eileen Williams said...

I loved this post--so filled with superstition and the power of the $2 bill. However, I feel the opposite about that particular denomination. I can't remember how I got it (I think a gift from my father) but I have one and carry it for GOOD LUCK!
It's interesting how we imbue energy into inanimate objects. Whether they bring us good fortune or not is probably less to do with the objects themselves and more to do with how we view them.
At any rate, my $2 bill is LUCKY--that's my take on it and I'm sticking with it! :-)

Joyce Mason said...

Hi, Eileen!

I could not agree more. Even though I saw the $2 bill as the good luck charm that probably averted total disaster, I couldn't shake my mom's energetic view of it ... which, in the end, is probably more a statement about the influence of a mother (especially her fears) than the power of superstitions themselves. Maybe when I can own and act on my true feelings about the two-buck bill, I'll have finally cut the apron strings with mom! LOL!