I’m not superstitious, or am I?

Black cat, mouth wide open, laying on sidewalk

I know superstitious people. They buy their lottery tickets from the same kiosk every time. They bring their rabbit’s foot or magic coin or lucky pencil to all exams. They wear their special undies or socks to each game if they want to play well.

A black cat can cross my path, no problem, although I’d prefer a cuddly black dog anytime. Show me a ladder and I’ll gladly walk under it. Watch me step on all the sidewalk cracks! I’ll even sleep soundly on the 14th floor of a hotel, even if it’s really the 13th floor.

I may not be overly superstitious, but certain traditions might suggest we Jews are a superstitious lot. Baby showers are one example. No, I am not expecting, I just look pregnant, but if I were, I wouldn’t have a shower before the baby is born. According to Jewish tradition, it is bad luck to celebrate until after the baby is safely out in the world. In fact, some Jewish parents-to-be do not even ready the nursery until after the birth. I have trouble buying a gift for a baby who is inside incubating, even if the family does not share the same belief.

Similar logic is thwarting a current decision, which makes me wonder: Is superstition in my blood? If I celebrate a special day early, will it still arrive or will I jinx it? The day in question is my fourth cancerversary, which I celebrate annually by bringing baked goods to Dr. Blood and her wonderful team. Together, they have helped me kick leukemia’s butt. I was diagnosed in early August, but I will be seeing the team, including Dr. Blood, tomorrow. If things go as planned and I’m sent off, I may not see them again until the cancerversary is long past.

So when to bake? If I bring my wares to my appointment tomorrow, I’m thereby presuming I’ll be alive until early August. This seems a fair assumption given my current health, but I don’t want to tempt fate. I could always get hit by a bus between now and then. If I wait to proffer my baking, I risk dying in the meantime and missing a chance to acknowledge my gratitude for my longevity. Can you appreciate my quandary?

If I do not bake before I die, I risk my guilt following me to the grave. I will have missed my annual acknowledgement of all my team has done to keep me well, and there is so much. They have patiently addressed concerns I have raised at appointments, dealt with issues between visits by telephone as needed, followed up with me on tests of concern, and set up any necessary interventions pronto. They’ve taken darn good care of me for almost four years now.

But then it hit me: I won’t feel guilty, or anxious, or ungrateful after I die. I won’t feel anything at all because I’ll be dead. So, rather than tempting fate, I’ll save the baking for my first post-cancerversary appointment. I have the feeling I’ll make it that long, so long as no black cats cross my path between now and then. Black dogs? No problem.

Black puppy sitting on boardwalk looking up at camera


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