The Luck of the Irish

I am fortunate enough to claim a great deal of Irish heritage. Over 80%, some say. Most folks believe that The Luck of the Irish is a wonderful thing. But recently I learned, while watching a Discovery Channel special, that the old saying is facetious. Ironic, even. Apparently, the term originated in the United States when Irish immigrants arrived on these promising shores to find discrimination, no jobs, no food and a lot of bad luck. The Luck of the Irish has nothing to do with finding a pot of gold. This explains a lot.

I spent much of my life trying to capitalize on my misinterpreted Irish luck. What I didn’t realize all my early years was that I never needed to find it; I carry it with me everywhere I go. For example, this summer I found four four-leaf clovers in my yard. I plucked and pressed each one carefully, thinking that this summer, above all others, I would have Irish luck beyond measure. I was right.

In June, Mr. Vagabond bought me a hot little red sporty car. I have never owned a new car that was mine-all-mine. This was my first. Halfway home from the dealership, which was two states away, the computer in my one-day-old car glitched. It was the middle of the night, of course. There I sat on the side of the road, bawling like a big, fat baby, in Somewhere, Kentucky. Somewhere, Kentucky is a spooky place at night. I did manage to limp it to a motel. The next morning, I was towed to a dealership in Lexington. Two computer programmers in Canada spent all day writing totally new code for my car. A mere 7 hours later, after spending the day in the parking lot in a broken lounge chair, I was back on the road.

That was only the beginning of my summer fun. How many times have you been bitten by a mosquito? How many times have you developed a viral brain infection from it? Two weeks spent on the sofa, trying to remember what day it was, and I vowed never to go outside again without first bathing in a vat of DEET.

During my disease-ridden brain’s struggle to recover from West Nile’s cousin, I received a call from my darling Mr. Vagabond. He explained that a rare astrological phenomenon called the Cardinal Grand Cross is occurring this summer and warned that it could be the best or the worst of times, depending on the path a person takes. Path? I don’t even own a map (and planning is for sissies).

I am not great with astrology. However, I am smart enough to know that, because I am lucky, my sun sign and my rising sign are both--say it with me--Cardinal signs. Cardinal signs. Cardinal Grand Cross. Are you following me? (The sticker says to stay back at least 200 feet. I wouldn’t follow too close). So, the astrological world is careening toward Cardinal Sign potential disaster this summer. Meanwhile, I am riding in the front seat clinging to my four leaf clovers without the good sense to raise my tray table to the locked and upright position and fasten my seat belt. Rumor has it that one could maneuver and manage this event to her own benefit if she were clever enough to put conscious thought into the ordeal. Since I couldn’t even recall where I misplaced my own bathroom, I decided to bungee cord myself to the celestial dashboard and hope for the best.

After I recovered from brain funk, I got another call from Mr. Vagabond: “Get a ticket, sweetie. You’re coming to see me in Moab, Utah!” Yay! I’d been waiting all summer for this opportun
ity, so I was obviously over the moon. I bought the ticket, packed like mad and hopped on a plane two days later. We drove around canyons, looked at amazing things and planned what we would do for the rest of my stay. The fun and games continued until Friday. What’s so special about Friday? Mr. Vagabond’s company forgot to make their payroll direct deposit. They also forgot to pay the company fuel card bill. Now, don’t get me wrong. Utah is nice. I would even go as far as to say it’s beautiful here. The coffee in the lobby is pretty good, and nothing beats a cherry danish in the morning. But we’re about to claw out each other’s throats for lack of being able to go anywhere. The company sends daily updates, though. They absolutely guarantee . . . that they’ll see what they can do. ASAP, even.

I’ve often thought my last name should be Murphy, of Murphy’s Law fame, but apparently my Irish maiden designation, Conner, works just fine. Since I am aware of my ancestral relationship with Mr. Murphy, I have stopped at every Target and Walmart within a 100 mile radius picking up snake bite packs, bandages, severed arm repair kits (those things are expensive!), and a flare gun. And rope. Lots of rope. Once the fuel card is back in working order, we will be back to the exploration. These things will undoubtedly come in handy.

I should be safe finding an arrowhead or maybe a shard of pottery. But if your local news station breaks in with a disaster alert that there has been a flash flood in Moab, the canyons caved in, flares are flying around in the sky, the National Guard has been deployed and FEMA has dispatched a convoy to the desert, it’s a pretty safe bet that I did, in fact, find my lucky pot of gold.


  1. I feel your pain, Carole. I too have a hearty portion of Irish blood. I decided years ago that I didn't believe in luck. That helps my perspective.

    Take lots of photos of your dream trip to Moab. Unless your camera breaks...

  2. Ha! Funny you should mention that. The Nikon is sitting on the front seat of the truck. It no longer recalls how to focus. Good thing we still have our phones! (I probably shouldn't have said that out loud, should I?)

  3. Carole, honey, you know we have a perfect saying for this down South. BLESS YOUR HEART!

  4. I know that well. LOL! Himself and I just laughed about how if anyone says, "Bless your heart", that means there is surely something real bad wrong.

  5. Carole, if I tell you I absolutely loved reading this hilariously sad tale, will you understand what I mean? ;D Hate the bad stuff, but sure love your writing and relentlessly humorous outlook.

    I, too, would sport the last name Murphy, except that my Irish dad's last name changed with his adoption at age 11. :)

    Like Jeanette, it helps that I don't believe in good luck or bad luck, though I'm still utterly charmed by 4-leaf clovers and other quirks of nature...large and small. So I'm hoping you soon get to travel again so we can see more pictures!

  6. Hilariously sad. Hey! I need that on a T-shirt!
    I don't really believe in luck, either. I just always wanted it to be true!

  7. You're doing great in spite of the luck of the Irish, LOL! And your humor style is evolving--I love the 'celestial dashboard' line. Enjoy those gorgeous vistas!

  8. Beth, I have to laugh to keep from crying. And the hits keep on coming. Word today is that they won't make payroll tomorrow, either. The fuel cards might be functional next Tuesday. Maybe. Someone help me! I'm stranded in Utah! And if I have to eat one more Whopper from Burger King . . .


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