It might surprise you, but I see myself as a lucky person. If anyone was counting, there are plenty
to fault my luck, but I’m an absurdist, y'see, and so I think of 'luck’ in its most pure and value-neutral form. In a surprisingly short time, I’ve had good luck like you wouldn’t believe, love that changed lives, random kindnesses that saved them… and I’ve had bad luck like you would believe even less, cascades of failure so ironically perfect that the only possible response was to laugh in pure awe at the sublime scale of the destruction. I’ve had a lot
of all kinds of luck. I’m a lucky person.
I don’t super agree with the way most people talk about luck, though, and that’s a big part of it - I think people talk about good luck less than they should, and bad luck far more. That’s more or less the same as George Carlin said - “People talk a whole lot about God when they win… never mention Him when they lose.” When we win, we want to accord that to ourselves, or our favorite father figure. When we lose, that was definitely luck. So we talk about bad luck a whole lot, and then we try to rationalize away good luck. We call it anything other than what it is.
That - calling luck something else - is the substance of most popular wisdom about luck, because popular wisdom is usually the words of popular, successful people, and successful people would like to believe their success owed nothing to luck. But… and this might be a matter of perspective, I don’t know, it’s just what it looks like from underneath Capitalism, you tell me what you think from wherever you’re at…
It usually just seems to me like when people are talking about luck, they’re trying not to mention money. I’m pretty sure that if we replaced the word “luck” with “money” and “lucky” with “rich” in every quote about luck we find, we would make every single one more true, relevant and useful in our brave new monetized world.
So that’s what we’re going to do this morning, kids! Everybody get out your pencils and highlight the word “luck” any time you see it, and write in “money” above it. Highlighters are on my desk if you need one.
“Diligence is the mother of money.” -Ben Franklin
“Money has a way of evaporating when you lean on it.” -Brandon Mull
So far so good, trenchant observations both. Who else do people with money love to quote about luck? Oh yeah -
“I’m a great believer in money, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” -Thomas Jefferson
“Money is another name for tenacity of purpose.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
“We must believe in money. For how else can we explain the success of those we don’t like?” -Jean Cocteau
Ooh, yeah, there we go, getting spicy now.
“It’s hard to detect money - it looks so much like something you’ve earned.” -Frank A Clark
“Money is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” -Seneca
Now that I think of it, you could replace any noun in that last one with ‘money’ and make it more true.
“Money is what happens when preparation meets money.”
“Money is what happens when money meets opportunity.”
“Money is what happens when money meets money.”
Seneca is spinning in his grave and all I can say is, can we hook up a generator to him and charge for the power somehow?
I’m out of control now, this is too much fun.
“Money is a very thin wire between survival and disaster, and not many people can keep their balance on it.” -Hunter S Thompson
“Nothing is as obnoxious as other people’s money.” -F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Those who have succeeded at anything and don’t mention money are kidding themselves.” -Larry King
Wild, finding myself agreeing with Larry King. Can someone write up a quick little browser-replacement script for this? It could make both financial reports and the stock market a lot more honest, at the very least.