“If a black cat crosses your path, it signifies that the animal is going somewhere.”
– Groucho Marx
I don’t consider myself superstitious. Not overly superstitious anyway. But lately, a couple of my friends have had a string of bad luck that has me entertaining the thought. There’s usually a logical reason for everything, even if you don’t know what the reason is. But what’s to explain the series of set backs that my best friend and boyfriend have gone through in the past few months?
Arab’s have a very strong belief in a particular superstition called “ain al hasood”, or as it’s more commonly known in English – the evil eye. The evil eye is cast upon someone for “hasad” or envy, which can cause bad luck. Some people believe that you can intentionally give someone the evil eye and wish upon them harm. Others believe that you can cast the evil eye without realising, purely on the envy that you feel towards someone.The effects of the evil eye are many. Illness. Getting fired from work. Losing valuables. Breaking something. Any kind of bad luck that you can think of. If you’ve got something that someone else wants – be afraid!
That beaded necklace you just bought and are crazy about suddenly falls apart? Your friend wants it. Just bought the car of your dreams and you got a flat? Someone thinks you don’t deserve the new wheels. Got a promotion and your laptop freezes up right before your first big presentation? Someone thinks you’re not qualified for the job. And the list goes on.
Again, there’s usually a good explanation for everything. The necklace that bust? Probably broke from all the pulling and tugging you were doing while admiring it and showing it off. The busted tire? Probably drove over nail or something as you crazily sped all over town. The frozen laptop? Probably over heated from the all nighter you pulled preparing the presentation. Things happen for a reason. And more often than not, that reason belongs to some form of logical, rational point of view.
My friend bought his own place last year and has been fixing it up ever since. He built a 2nd floor on what was once a large roof top terrace. He put in a rec room and has plans for a fire-place. He set up a bar and bought a projector and is on the way to creating once of the nicest bachelor pads any of us could own at the ripe age of 29. Within the past 6 months of his renovation and maintenance, the kitchen had to be installed and re-installed 3 times because they kept messing up. The marble tiles broke and when he went to order new ones, they were out of stock. The pipes were leaking. Then the glass upstairs cracked. It was problem after problem. 1st world problems, but problems nonetheless. My friend starts questioning logic and considers the evil eye. Could it be?
My boyfriend. The boy. Love of my life, bless him, had his car stolen a few months ago. Straight from in front of his house. Gone and gone. After months of hopeful waiting, he called it quits on the car and started looking for a new one. During the interim, he took cabs or would use my car or his parents car when he needed.
A month ago he finally settled on a car and started getting his papers sorted so he could finally buy it. He should be getting his new car today, at 5pm (*excitement!*) He’s been waiting for this ever since he signed for the car about two weeks ago, so you can imagine how anxious he is to finally get it. Well, he goes to work in his parents car (which he hasn’t driven in two weeks and which has just recently come out from the shop) and patiently gets to work, waiting for 5pm so he can go pick up his new baby, all the while never once realising that the evil eye was working its evil magic on him. As he parks the car and goes to lunch with his colleagues, a passerby outside goes into the restaurant where they were eating and informs everyone that there’s a car outside that is on fire.
Yes. The boys car. His parents car that hasn’t been driven in two weeks. The car that just came out of the shop. Fully inspected. A-OK. On fire.
Now there is a reasonable, rational explanation, of course. Apparently there was some sort of electrical short – an obviuos error from when it was getting fixed two weeks ago. But, with his luck in the automobile department – reason is not something he’s ready to listen to.
Have these boys been struck by the evil eye? Are they the helpless victims of envy? Or is it just what it is; a string of bad luck?
I can’t resign myself to the superstition quite fully, because, well, how powerless does that make us?