86: Luck Be a Day-of-the-Week Panty

86: Luck Be a Day-of-the-Week Panty

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just for Preteens

Luck Be a Day-of-the-Week Panty

The only sure thing about luck is that it will change.

~Wilson Mizner

On my eleventh birthday, I received a package of day-of-the-week panties. Each of the seven white undergarments had a different trim color with matching thread that spelled out a day of the week — Sunday through Saturday. These panties became my barometer for good fortune.

When I dressed before beginning my day in sixth grade, I opened my dresser drawer, closed my eyes and reached in. If I blindly chose the panty embroidered with the correct day of the week, I believed that I would have good luck for twenty-four hours. If I failed to choose the correct day-of-the-week panty for the day I was about to start, I feared the worst.

Any interaction with Margaret was bound to be on a wrong-panty day. I met Margaret when I moved to town in fourth grade. At recess on my first day as the new kid, Margaret walked up to me on the blacktop where kids played hopscotch. I smiled, thinking we were about to strike up a friendship. That’s when Margaret punched me in the stomach.

Her punch carried experience. It was obvious by Margaret’s form she had punched before. It was the only time I have had the wind intentionally knocked out of me by another human being.

By sixth grade, I was relying heavily on my day-of-the-week panties to predict if it was to be a Margaret kind of day. She hadn’t socked me again in the two years since the playground punch, but she taunted me. The day she pulled my elastic headband down over my eyes, I was wearing the Monday panty on Thursday.

Luckily, I had enough correct-panty days to get by.

Like the day we were square dancing in gym class. Square dancing in and of itself made a day unlucky with its embarrassment of holding a boy’s sweaty hand and the agony of do-si-do-ing and promenading. However, for me, the day the teachers selected dance partners amongst the students, the aura of square dancing turned on a dime. My teacher scanned the bevy of girls. He walked up to me, bent down, extended his hand and said, “Would you like to dance?” I blushed, took my handsome teacher’s hand, and floated to the middle of the gym floor where other teachers and their student-partners gathered. The record player spun, and we danced the Virginia reel.

From among all of the sixth-grade girls, my teacher picked me as his dance partner. I smiled. I was wearing my pink-trimmed Wednesday panty, and it was Wednesday.

Time marched on, and I outgrew my day-of-the-week panties and my need for a good-luck accessory. I began to learn that it takes a higher power to define my days.

Then, on a summer afternoon when I was seventeen, I was riding my bicycle. A Doberman began chasing at my wheels. Someone called the dog from across the street. I looked over and saw Margaret. She was wearily pushing her baby and toddler in a stroller. Margaret looked like life had punched her in the stomach.

As I pedaled away from the snapping dog, I realized that Margaret was proof that no object — not even a day-of-the-week panty — can bring us luck. Each of us is responsible for making our own.

~Angie Klink

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