Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Rabbits’ feet and four leafed clovers

Luck is an interesting concept. Some say there is no such thing as luck and that you make your own luck. Tantalising though that idea is, and much as I am a believer in the powers of positive thought, I think we all have to concede that luck, both good and bad do exist. How else do people win Lotto? It certainly ain’t the result of any cunning sure-fire plan, apart from the decision to actually buy a ticket. Nope, it’s just old fashioned god luck against enormous odds.

However I don’t believe luck is a totally inanimate thing. You might not be able to control it but sometimes you can work it, ride it, or learn from it.

Luck often gets a bad rap. Often it is blamed for things which have nothing to do with it. For example envy gives birth to many claims of luck intervening in matters when often it is just that the other bloke, company or whatever was more intelligent, skilful or whatever.

We usually curse what we deem to be bad luck, but so often it is a wake-up call when we are doing something stupid or wrong. Often good luck comes disguised as not so good luck. Think of the little apprentice scumbag that gets caught early in his criminal career and actually turns himself around as a result. And I am sure most of us can recall some occasion we were to have been present at, but because of what seemed bad luck at the time we were not and it turned out to be a disaster of some kind, which we were later glad to have missed.

If we get a lucky break that offers the opportunity for advancement in one way or another, few of us with argue with the idea of grabbing that luck and running with it. But how many have the wisdom to see a lucky escape as a totally different though equally important opportunity? Sadly, in my experience those numbers are much smaller.

One such apparently slow learner would have to be Daniel Rockhouse; one of only two survivors from the Pike River mining disaster. Daniel, who lost his brother in that tragedy, seems to have attached little significance to his good luck and has been working in the mines in Australia since.

Now you might think that is kind of silly, but it paled into insignificance when I read this week that Daniel had ‘experienced’ another mine collapse in Queensland’s North Goonyella mine where he is currently working. He was uninjured and according to the story wasn’t sure whether he would go back mining again. I have deliberately used quote marks and italics here because I have some serious doubts about this story.

I made many attempts to Google versions of it other than those in the NZ Herald and Stuff, neither of which said WHEN (one of our W’s is missing), this incident actually ‘happened’. Guess what? I could find only two other sites carrying the ‘story’. One was who had done a total cut and paste from Stuff and the other was 9news. There was still no word as to when this incident had actually occurred and interestingly nobody apart from our lucky miner seems to have been spoken to.

So what is going on? Is the Queensland mining community in denial or is the story a complete fiction? Either seems equally likely when you get an industry that is notoriously cagey about admitting its mistakes and it produces a ‘story’ about another industry that takes a similar stance over its own shortcomings. I doubt we’ll ever get any answers from the NZ media who seem quite happy to spend most of their time as mouthpieces for captains of industry and politicians. But if it’s true, young Daniel should take heed and stay out of that lion’s den for life. A third strike could see him walking to the great bench in the sky.

Some would say we need some luck before the event next month that none dare speak the name of, and yes we do need some, but most of all we need a good effort on the field and a strong will to win.

Lucky charm, anyone? Guaranteed to work...honest. (Well it did in ’87, anyway).

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