Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Bad Luck Charm

Reputations are pretty hard to break.

Like a lousy first impression, ill repute once gained is almost impossible to be rid of - and nothing makes a worse impression in the hospital than being the unfortunate bearer of ill fortune.

Or more accurately, a bad luck charm.

Seriously. We have an unusual term for these so-called bad luck charms in the hospital. Like the ancient sailors, we call these jinxed doctors Jonah. As dedicated men of science, physicians are supposed to scoff at such superstitious illogical nonsense as bad luck but every once in a while, an inexplicable string of catastrophes happens during that particular unfortunate Jonah's oncall. Dozens of patients destabilize at the same time, new ones drop to the ground at the door, the machines fail to function properly, the electric supply crashes - and then even the roof falls in.

Murphy's Law really.

But bad juju does happen, believe it or not, and most times it can't be explained away as mere statistical chance ( what are the freaking odds! One in a billion? ).

God knows who actually started this peculiar term Jonah over here - whether it's named after the unfortunate prophet Jonah of Biblical fame ( with his fishing misadventures ) or some bewitched physician going by the same name many years ago. Obviously, some disgruntled patient must have cast the evil eye on the poor guy.

More than a few of us have been labelled as Jonah... and honestly I'm one of the unfortunate few - though of late, I feel that I'm starting to shed some of that bad juju ( got my fingers crossed hopefully! ). Still terrible calls are the rule rather than the exception - and going through a grueling 24-hour-call without a minor disaster always comes as a surprise. Even fills me with unwelcome suspicion in the wee hours of the morning as I wonder whether something calamitous has happened somewhere without my knowledge ( or whether my uncooperative pager has died on me ).

Getting it On
Trying on that lucky shirt!

Of course we all have our own ways of dealing with this - and most everyone I know has their own version of a good luck charm. After all no one wishes to be branded as the Jonah to be tossed overboard and swallowed by a passing whale.

Hear that lucky underwear and socks are par for the course though very few would admit to it. Ever the irreverent creature, Shameless Shalom swears on her infamous Red (hair)Band of Courage - though last I heard it was broken and not replaced as yet. Another colleague of mine used to believe in daily flower scented baths at exactly 6 in the evening to ward off evil. Hell, even the folks in Seattle Grace depend on their regular hot chocolate to promote good chi.


jase said...

Bad luck? Then you should do what the chinese do 'chuen wan' (turn luck). Take a chair put it in the middle of the room and then walk a few rounds around it. That should sufficiently 'chuen wan' for you! hahahahha, I know it does for me in Mahjong!

Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy said...

hehe yeah ditto jase! ;-)

Paul, how about washing in pomelo leaves? I've heard people do that to wash off ill fortunes or bad spirits. ;-)

The worse that will do is leave you smelling citrussy! ;-)


strapping.shane said...

I don't know if the rabbit's foot really helps, but even if you want to look for one - I'm not so sure where you can get it.

ZEYN OF ENVY said...


we won't be hoping for a good lucvk if there's no bad ones in the first place. as long as you're sincere in what you do (*yawn*), you'll be fine.

Sue said...

I had the very good furtune of being considered good luck myself for many years. People would fight to have me on their projects because I brought with me good luck and success. Boy, those were the days. It ended when I had my aneurism and my luck ran out.

hrugaar said...

So do you still have your lucky stethoscope, paul?

William said...

I smell a business opportunity here... I'll be setting up my quackery booth soon to lighten some doctors' wallets.

endi said...

erm..seems that every hosp has their own jonah..

nyonyapenang said...

hang a 'pat-kua' round your neck, perhaps.

savante said...

Don't think we haven't done that. jase!

Washing in pomelo leaves? Uh... where do you get those, nigel!

I could get it from SBB, bet he has a rabbit's foot, shane.

True enuf, zeyn.

Ouch, sue. But I bet you're still lucky for most :)

Usually hide that precious stets in my bag, ru.

You should. Selling rabbits foot and four leaf clovers, william.

Unsurpising but yes, endi.

But nyonya, the pat kuas breakable!