Luck o' the Jews

September 24, 2010


Black cat

Image by Mark J. Sebastian

Oh, you guys.  I don’t even know where to START this story. 

Friday night we were leaving Yom Kippur services with the kids and headed to get a bite to eat.  We cut through a nearby neighborhood to get to the restaurant and as we were driving down a darkened street a black cat runs across the street and Husband slams on the breaks so as not to hit Mr. Kitty.

Then it registers.  A cat.  A BLACK cat.


Husband and I share some side-eye glances with raised eyebrows and exhale slowly.  Leah screams and immediately says, “What color was that cat?!”

“Oh…uh… it was pretty dark, honey…”

“Yeah, but was it a BLACK CAT?!”

“Ummmm…. I think it was a smokey GREY cat, sweetie… I might have seen some white paws…” [LIE!]

She then goes on to explain to Benjamin allllll the fantastic bad luck implications of a black cat crossing your path and how LUCKY we are that this cat was NOT black.


The rest of the night went on just fine and we all slept well.  The next day we woke up and were all getting ready to go BACK to temple for childrens services and out of nowhere I hear Husband say, “Oh, GREAT!  Shit!”

“What happened?!”

In some random act of flailing, Husband had swung his arm out and hit the molding on the bathroom doorway and broke the crystal on his watch.

Uh, huh.  Right.

We looked at each other somewhat knowingly, but said nothing.  I’m not sure I wanted to say it out loud.

We’re all finally dressed and ready, pile into the car and head out.  We’re cruising along the freeway which for 8:15am on a Saturday is just wide open and I’m playing on my iPhone mindlessly when all of a sudden Husband says, “Woah!  LOOK OUT!”

I look up to see an old car skidding sideways, complete with smoking tires, and wildly fishtailing not 200 yards in front of us.  Husband slams on the brakes and swerves to the side to attempt to miss this idiot.  We go safely around him, but not without 94 new grey hairs popping out in my hair and my heart beating so hard I think it’s going to pop right out of my chest.

Again, Husband and I look at each other.  I can’t help but comment on all of this now.  Two things within an hour is just A BIT MUCH.

“So…uh… that thing that happened last night?  Our little friend?”


“How would one go about UNDOING that?”

“I can’t talk about it.”

Well, he couldn’t talk about it, but I could GOOGLE it, by G-d.  So I did.  Here’s the thing.  Only the US and smart parts of Europe believe black cats crossing your path are bad luck.  The Japanese, naturally, believe they are actually GOOD luck and the comment was made that you should just say, “Konichiwa,” and move on thanking the cat for the luck.

So, in tandem, we say, “Konichiwa!” and exhale a bit.

And maybe drive a little more carefully than normal.

Cut to us getting home from services.  I tell the kids to change out of their temple clothes, hand Leah a small pile of laundry, and ask her to put that away in her room.  She rolls her eyes and walks up the stairs.  I change clothes quickly and head into the laundry room to start a load of clothes.

All of a sudden, I hear Leah screaming at the top of her lungs and running down the stairs, “MOMMY!  SOMETHING HAPPENED!!”

Husband comes hauling ass from the other side of the house and we race up the stairs to find her dresser had fallen over.  ABOUT A FOOT FROM WHERE SHE AND BENJAMIN HAD BEEN STANDING.

Oh, my hell KONICHIWA.  Are you KIDDING ME?!

I was ready to just take to my bed and send everyone else to theirs because CLEARLY life was out to get us.  I shared this story with a friend in pure exasperation and she pointed something out to me I had missed.

Aside from Husband’s watch getting broken (and, really, it’s not bad because he gets a new one, right?) the cat worked.  We didn’t get into a devastating car accident, Leah and Benjamin were not seriously hurt (or worse) from the falling heavy dresser.


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12 Responses to “Luck o' the Jews”

  1. stephanie Says:

    I like your friend’s perspective. 🙂

  2. Jonathan Says:

    Pah… coincidence 🙂 My Mum was full of stupid superstitions too – like never putting shoes on a table, never walking under ladders, never owning a green car, never wearing green jewellery, and so on…

  3. Knighton Says:

    I have a black cat. She’s constantly walking in front of me. It would only be bad luck if she happened to trip me on the way down the stairs one fine morning. In fact, maybe she’s been plotting my demise all along. Hmmm.

  4. Teri Says:

    la la la, I can’t hear you. You just told Facebook land that you went out to eat on Yom Kippur nite. la la la, I can’t hear you.

    Seriously, I love your posts. Keep ’em coming!

  5. Teri Says:

    Oops, I meant to say Blog land, not facebook land.

  6. Dia Says:

    There is a black cat that lives somewhere on my street. It seems to wait for me to start my car, then it slowly strolls across the road in front of me. I can’t seem to avoid crossing the cat’s path, multiple times a week. I have decided its only bad luck if I lose patience and hit it one day.

  7. Carolyn Says:

    I will now say a cheerful “konichiwa” to every black cat I pass for the rest of my life. Thanks for the tip!