You know that old superstitious adage, the one that says bad luck will rain on you if you open an umbrella indoors? Well, I’ve never been much of a believer in that kind of stuff, but lately I’ve undergone a change of heart. Let me tell you why.
Growing up an only child, I was accustomed to playing by myself. I was very curious and creative and one of my favorite enchantments was my mother’s big rainbow umbrella. The way a seemingly simple stick could blossom into a giant colorful parachute mesmerized me beyond all the pratfalls of Ernie and Burt on endless episodes of Sesame Street. In fact, I vividly remember opening the umbrella, twirling like a dervish in the living room and belting out songs about eagles and downpours. Make believe games kept me occupied for hours. Sure my mother told me not to play with umbrellas and sure she warned me about the bad luck it might bring, but I simply could not resist.
As I grew up the novelty of being under an umbrella wore off, but I still continued to open it indoors without the slightest fear of what the “god of the jealous sun” might do to me in retribution. I had absolutely no hesitation or nervous twitch about it. And why would I? Up until that point in my life, everything was hunky dory.
Then one day, I was walking to work as I always do. The sky, which was bright and sunny when I left the house, quickly transformed into what looked like a big black cat arching its growing back. Bemused by the image, and impelled by the sudden change in weather, I reached into my briefcase to the place where I normally store my umbrella, but much to my dismay the umbrella was not there. I checked the other pockets then checked the first one again, but no, there was still no umbrella. Meanwhile, heaven’s floodgates opened up wide and the rain started to pour down in thick glossy sheets. Poor, vulnerable, umbrella-less me was left completely wrecked, wet, and late for work.
Now I know you’re probably thinking, “What’s the big deal? That happens to everyone every now and then. That’s just life…its nothing to get the creeps about.” And I agree. It’s no big deal. Or, it wouldn’t have been, except that the pattern continued for 2 years! For 2 years without fail, I packed my umbrella in my suitcase and every time it would rain, my umbrella was nowhere to be found. There was nobody to blame, nobody to accuse, and no logical explanation for my disappearing umbrella, except for one thing. The conclusion was inescapable. Bad-luck karma was coming back to haunt me.
After a dozen or so times of walking in wet and late to work, my boss sat me down for a little talking to. “This is not the first time you’ve come in here soaked, shivering and dripping with rain water,” he said. “The puddles you leave behind are hazardous and your whole appearance is disruptive to our work environment. Something has to be done.” After a lengthy chat about responsibility or lack thereof, I was seized by the sensation of a pipeline in my brain opening up to a source of higher wisdom. I boldly offered a suggestion to the boss. “Why not order custom printed umbrellas? That way I’ll be sure to keep it with me at all times. You can pass them out to employees, visitors, friends, and potential clients, and best of all, we’ll all be free walking advertisements!”
Well, my luck sure turned around for the good on that day because my boss loved the idea! Not only did he order hundreds of imprinted umbrellas, but he also promoted me! Now the storage room is full of high-quality logo umbrellas, and if it ever rains in the afternoon I just go to the closet and grab one of those magical sticks to protect me, warmed by the certitude that I’ll be providing the company a promotional bonanza all the way home. I’m convinced that opening the umbrella in the house years ago, lead to many hours of singing in the rain, today, all the way to the bank.