I normally work three days a week as an Adult Education teacher leaving me free to do other things on Thursdays and Fridays. For several reasons I decided to do more substitute teaching on those two days, one of which is to help pay for this money pit we now live in. Today I was a substitute in a friend’s high school mathematics class. This particular day was no different from many other days of being a substitute in a high school class in that the majority of the students view it as a day off for socializing. Of course, not all students view it that way and I did get to help several students’ progress with their Python programming exercises.
However, the thing that got me wondering about the Luck of the Irish was one seventeen-year-old young woman who had been out for an extended period on Home and Hospital for both cancer treatment and a fractured knee. She had only returned to school this quarter and when she was telling her fellow students and I about her diagnosis of Lupus the only thing that I could think to say was: “You’re too young to have Lupus,” to which she responded: “That’s what I thought.”
She talked to her friends there at the back of the room about her symptoms and I found myself listening to descriptions of the ailment that were all too clear as, you see, my youngest sister was diagnosed with Lupus more years ago than I can seem to remember. Perhaps it was fifteen, twenty, or more as I am one of those people cursed with the inability to judge the precise passage of time.
I did, however, share with the young woman William Glasser’s views concerning autoimmune system diseases and recommended his book Choice Theory: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom. I also gave her the web address for the William Glasser Institute so she could do her own research into the man who claimed his methods were able to cure autoimmune system diseases like Lupus.
When I arrived home this afternoon and opened our local weekly paper I saw an obituary for a thirty-year-old man who had died of liver failure due to alcoholism. That seemed so young for someone who had held down a job and was part of an extended family network. I once worked for a Fortune 100 corporation as an Accounting Services Manager in my middle to latter twenties. Now many of us cope with high stress jobs in many different ways. I was a chain smoker and heavy coffee drinker. The Maintenance Manager self-medicated with vodka of which he drank no less than a quart each and every evening, and had done so for years. My best friend, the Senior Financial Analyst allowed himself four 16-ounce Budweiser’s each evening and smoked White Owl cigars. My best friend died of Lung Cancer in 1982 and I began drinking Budweiser’s in the evening to cope with the grief of his loss and that of a failed marriage.
I gave up smoking over twenty years ago and several years back I grew allergic to something that was in beer and sat it aside in favor of red wine as my vice of choice. So back to the Luck of the Irish and the questions: Why does a seventeen-year-old woman have Lupus? Why does a thirty-year-old die of alcohol induced liver failure? Why do I not suffer any ill effects from decades of smoking and the consumption of alcohol?
I looked up the Luck of the Irish and discovered that perhaps it did not mean good fortune as I had always believed but rather it was a derogatory slur that meant dumb luck, as in if any good things occur to the Irish it was sheer dumb luck, because the Irish didn’t have the intelligence to accomplish good things, as in increased fortune, on their own.
Dumb Luck? Maybe I have the Luck of the Irish after all.