I hope you like this column. You may not, because I didn’t knock on wood, which is customary when hoping for something. I believe this tradition started with the first Jehovah’s Witness, who hoped his neighbor was home and then knocked on his door. That neighbor answered, and a trend was born.

To be clear, I don’t consider myself to be superstitious, even if I stumbled across a naked Jessica Alba in a field of four-leaf clovers. My reasoning is simple: reality trumps superstition, and the reality in this example would be my lack of game would find a way to screw it up. “Hey, Jessica…. You should put a sweater on. You’re gonna catch clover flu or something.” That’s right…lady luck is no match for the coolers that are my slight germaphobia and not-so-slight station wagon.

But some people truly believe fate can be altered. Fine…to each his own, although it’s still annoying when some guy says “Knock on wood” and then taps his head. I bet this is the same guy who asks his co-workers, “You working hard or hardly working?”. Contrary to what he may believe, it’s common decency, and not a lucky spell, that prevents anyone from punching him in the nuts.

Superstitious people, by definition, believe in a power higher than themselves, be it God, Allah, Oprah or that creepy lady in the Starbucks logo. By buying into superstition, they must believe that higher power has their finger on the button of destiny, then at the last moment says, “Wait a minute! Did Carl just throw salt over his shoulder? Dammit! Abort mission, people!”

Usually being jinx-conscious is done on a personal level. Nobody needs to know that you hold your breath whenever you drive past a cemetery, if that’s your thing. But what if a cop pulls you over by the side of a cemetery? Good luck with that one. Maybe he’ll have a rabbit’s foot on his pen when you sign the ticket before passing out.

Yes, usually it’s just on a personal level. But then here come the New York Yankees making hex-aversion a news story. They got wind that a Boston-loving construction worker may have buried a Red Sox jersey underneath their new stadium. Fearing a perpetual jinx on the team, they made the effort to find and remove it. Keep in mind that years ago, it was rumored that the body of Jimmy Hoffa was buried in Giant Stadium, and nobody cared to even lift a shovel or shiny horseshoe. I doubt the Yankees would have cared either, unless they heard that inside his cement shoes, Hoffa was wearing Curt Schilling’s bloody socks.

I don’t understand why it was important to find this shirt. Would a jersey lodged two feet below cement really make A-Rod’s playoff batting average any worse? I think that’s even lower than where the shirt was buried. Maybe the team lost a three-game lead in the 2004 championship series because George Steinbrenner forgot to email a chain letter to twenty of his friends in five minutes. Did you think of that, Yankees fans? Your team lost the pennant because the owner threw lady luck into the spam folder. Way to go.

My sarcasm doesn’t penetrate many Yankees fans. A lot of them think this scavenger hunt is a great story. They’d rather the team spend even more money to find a curse than deal with any bad luck. But what they don’t consider is that this whole thing is going to make life miserable for whoever is working the stadium’s lost-and-found desk.

“You lost a contact lens? Wow, I’m sorry but that’s way too small to…what? It was crafted by a Boston optometrist?! Shit. Now I’ll have to cancel the double header and hire a search and rescue team. Son of a bitch!”

Later, amid the cacophony of jackhammers and dynamite, workers will desperately seek that contact lens while the lost-and-found clerk knocks on wood while reading the want ads.

*Jessica Alba was not injured in the making of this column. Knock on wood.

Categories: Columns