Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Uncanny Luck

Do you ever feel like a general rule for luck is...
either you got it or you don't?

I don't know for sure what I think. Growing up, my selfish bias would have said that my sister got the luck card and I didn't. It's hard to gauge because perspective is pretty tainted.

But I don't know that my perspective is so tainted as a mom. And one of my kids has luck. It's Dallin B. He's the one that goes on streaks rolling the highly-sought after 6 again and again in games of "Trouble". In "Memory", he's surprised by randomly turning over unexpected pairs at least 4 or 5 times a game. Our Disneyland visits usually include a viewing of the Jedi Training Academy. A million kids are jumping up and down waving their arms like banshees in an effort to get picked as a volunteer. And Dallin gets picked....100% of the time. Seriously. Every. single. time. Without fail. Once picked, all 25ish volunteers fight either Darth Vader or Darth Maul, but only one is graced with an additional surprise attack from the Storm Troopers.
Yes, of course Dallin was the one who had to fight them off using the Force. And he got the job done!

But then there's Porter. And Porter's luck acts as a governor when reacting to Dallin's luck. Because Porter's luck includes more of spilling his milk at every other meal, forgetting his back pack, leaving his shoes outside on the day the sprinklers go off. You get the point. And while I get that life's not fair, I find it a bit tricky mothering to both the yin and the yang.

We were forced to walk by the arcade. It's rarely an act of volition with kids. Rather, it's an unavoidable, no-detour-available route that makes me pass the arcade. And as expected, the kids were intrigued. We stopped and they hovered by the couple games closest to the sidewalk. But those were enough to entrap them- Porter had spotted something he NEEDED. The boy who is obsessed with all things basketball right now- the Clippers, Derek Rose, Michael Jordan, shoot- some other guy I can't think of right now- had just spotted a......BULL. Yes, like the Chicago Bulls. But in a furry, plushy stuffed animal form. And where are stuffed animals found at arcades?

Claw Machine Tips thumbnail

And what's the one thing we know about THE CLAW?

That it rips you off. It's a shameless money sucker. I don't remember if I've ever played personally, but I've watched others load mounds of quarters into the black hole only to be rewarded by a heartless claw leaving them empty-handed. I've NEVER ONCE seen a winner.

So when Porter starts talking with ignorant confidence about getting this Bull and needing this Bull and $1 is all it takes and he brought 13, I'm once again cursing the dang path that forced us on the arcade. The path that's gonna force me to let my child add his dollar to the mucho coins in the black hole. All my huffing and puffing wasn't about to sway his decision.  

So I crouch down to insert the stubborn dollar, while he watches with curious eyes. Some other boy is right beside us jibber-jabbering about how this can be a 2 player game. I'm still fumbling to get the machine to STEAL my dollar, refusing to let it cut me a break. And just as it sucks it in, without a moment's warning, THE CLAW is in action. It's methodically moving it's cold self down towards the toys. It's reached toy land and is ready to clamp shut around thin air. THE CLAW does clamp. But we are all so confused. Who is driving THE CLAW? It doesn't appear that Porter even has his hands on the buttons. Is that other boy playing? Is this really a two-player game like he had been claiming? And how is it happening so quick? WHAT IS GOING ON?

And we might not be so concerned about the logistics of who is playing and who isn't and how this thing is moving, except for the fact that THE CLAW has not clamped thin air, but has picked up the Bull! Are you hearing this? THE CLAW, that is going on 300 years of robbing kids and adults all the same, picked up the Bull. The only thing Porter wanted in this over-crowded incubator of stuffed animals.

And he hadn't even touched the controller.

And the other boy hadn't put in a dollar.

Which means, Porter won. The Bull is his.

The boy who has only watched his brother walk hand-in-hand with luck in a myriad of ways on numerous occasions, while he patiently waits on hands and knees cleaning up yet another milk spill....has defeated THE CLAW.

And the mama who has tried to find the balance between celebrating luck and comforting misfortune gets to leave the scale for a brief moment and just CELEBRATE. As if Derek Rose himself just presented Porter with the Bull. As if we had jointly just bought the winning lottery ticket. As if THE CLAW just relinquished his most useful POW.

It really happened. And it was really that shocking. And we let him know what a big deal it was. That not only was this his lucky day, but this might be his lucky 5 years. Because things like this just don't happen.

Disneyland is magical. In more than one way apparently.


  1. Funny you post this! I'm in Disneyland today... :) It is soooo magical! I love it! GREAT PICS girl!


  2. That is a miracle. I've never in my entire life seen anyone win anything from the claw. Pretty much won the lottery


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