I can say with some confidence that luck has never been much of a lady to me. Unless that lady is my secondary school music teacher who hated me with the red hot passion of a thousand suns! In fact, I have recently become convinced that I may be one of the least lucky men in the world, and I’m reminded of this on an almost daily basis. As I ride to work on my scooter, there comes a junction half way into the journey where I have to choose between two routes, both punctuated with traffic lights. If I choose route one and my light turns green, the people who choose route two are held at a red. If I choose route two and my light turns green, route one’s commuters have their journeys interrupted. The problem is, whichever route I choose, almost without exception, seems to be the wrong one! It’s almost as if I am living under some strange cosmic traffic-light curse!
However, it doesn’t end there. As far as I can remember, I’ve never really had any luck. While in my twenties, I went to Las Vegas for a night to try my hand at the tables and managed to lose over $400 in under an hour, betting small on Black Jack. Even the dealer seemed to take pity on me, as he swiped away chip after chip of my travelling budget. I once considered monetising this misfortune by taking paying customers into a casino and actively encouraging them to bet against me. If I choose red, bet black. If I go evens, place odds. There must be a way I can make this work for me! In fact, I am so unlucky that I was even sacked when I worked as a chef for using the incorrect fish and herbs – ‘wrong plaice, wrong thyme’. Hmmm, ok you’ll have to forgive me for that one.
Despite my grumbles, you will be glad to know that I am wholeheartedly aware of just how fortunate I am, if I could venture to separate the two concepts. At eighteen, I spent my gap year volunteering for a charity in Bolivia and saw first-hand what true poverty looked like. It helped me form a gratitude for some of the everyday things that the teenage version of me had taken for granted: hot water, stable electricity, free health care, a police service, a fire-service, the NHS…and the list goes on. I don’t make this comparison to denigrate the developing world, but rather to reaffirm just how good we have it here in the UK.
Did you know that if you get paid over £26,000 a year, you’re in the top 1% of wage earners in the world? What about the fact that almost half of the world still lives on less that $2.50 a day! And 80% of the world survives on less than $10 a day! As a man writing this blog, I’m also reminded that my gender alone has granted me favour over women and girls, who are 71% more likely to become victims of human trafficking than me – not so lucky to be a lady it appears.
We’ve recently begun selling a coffee from Rwanda, where in 1994 the lottery of being born a Tutsi instead of a Hutu could have led to you being amongst the 800,000 people slaughtered in a vicious, lawless and indiscriminate genocide.
The next time I’m sat in traffic on the motorway watching every other lane move faster than me, I may need to remind myself just how fortunate I truly am.