“Short’s Lucky Numbers: 15, 25, 8, 32, 12, 4.”
I recognize this information, as the numbers were copied directly from the slip of paper in his fortune cookie from the Chinese take-out we finished mere moments ago. Not sure why he couldn’t grab a magnet and stick the fortune itself right up there instead of having to spend the time re-writing it.“Because I don’t want Tall to think they are his numbers, or Pop or you to think they are your numbers! They are my lucky numbers,” he explains patiently. Then he continues: “I am so glad I know them now.”
I have to suppress a smile. He somehow thinks that whoever packed up his sticky rice and sweet and sour beef also happens to hold the keys to his future, via important lucky numbers.
“Mommy, how old were you when you found out your lucky numbers?”I am realizing that six-year-olds take the information dispensed to them from whatever source, reputable or not, without question. Teacher says not to run in the hall, so that must be a fact. You cannot have dessert unless you eat most of your broccoli first: indisputable fact. Santa comes down the chimney, even if you do not have a fireplace? Accepted fact. Chinese restaurant bestows your special numbers to you? Now you commit them to memory, as they are a new and crucial fact of your life.
The next day we are driving and Short notices the speed limit sign.“Mommy! Did you see that? My number: 25! On the sign! Look! My lucky number!” He is bouncing in the booster seat. “It’s happening already, this is so great!”
I am not sure exactly what is happening, except that I was going 35 and now I tap on the breaks to stay within the speed limit.At the dry cleaners later, the clerk calls my number: “I can help number 32, 32 please?”
Short is tugging at my elbow insistently. “Mommy! Did you hear that? My lucky number!”This continues on in any situation we encounter over the next several days: how many cars are parked in a row (4), how many eggs in the dozen we just bought (12), or how many gallons it takes to fill up my car (15). Lucky numbers abound.
I want to set him straight, to tell him that just because someone says something to him (“These are your lucky numbers”) does not make it true. How can children believe anything without questioning it? At what age do we get savvy and cynical and start to question the so-called “facts” as subjective?Now we are at the department store, as I need to buy some eye cream. The clerk tells me about the latest miracle cream and how it erases fine lines quickly.
“If you use this twice a day, you will see dramatic results in just two weeks,” she says, her college-age skin looking like it will never need eye-cream. “It is fabulous, revolutionary! You should get it, it will make you look 10 years younger.”
I nod at her. Eye cream. Revolutionary. Ten years younger.“And we are having a sale! The eye cream is 25% off, just for today. This must be your lucky day.”
I have never heard of this cream nor this brand, but the salesgirl is telling me it works. Who am to argue? I buy the eye cream. Apparently, this must be my lucky day.MOV