Story by Kathy Collins
Listen to this column read aloud in pidgin:
So, whass yo’ fav’rite numbah? Mos’ time you ask me, I going say “13,” ‘cause I was born on Friday da 13th, so I figgah dass gotta be my lucky day an’ my lucky numbah. But if you ask me today, I gotta say “50,” ‘cause August 21, 2009, is da 50th anna-versry of da 50th State.
Now, I know get some people—some a dem is my fam’ly an’ friends—who no t’ink dat statehood is something fo’ celebrate. But no mattah how you feel about da ovah-t’row an’ annexation an’ sov’reignty, li’ dat, you gotta admit, da 50/50 t’ing is kinda cool.
I donno if you call ’em supa-stition or ancient wisdom or what, but us humans get one fassa-nation wit’ certain numbahs . . . speshly when dey match up. Like couple years ago, my lolo cousin who t’ink he so smart, he wen’ go around, borrow money from everybody in da fam’ly. He went promise us double our money back; he said was one guaranteed investment, garans ball-barans! Come fo’ find out, he wen’ take all our money fo’ go Vegas on 7/07/07 ‘cause he figgah dass gotta be his lucky day. Him an’ couple, t’ree million odda guys wit da same idea.
But we no could get too mad wit’ him ‘cause he wen’ bring back presents fo’ all us. See, when he wen’ reach da casino, had so much guys waiting in line fo’ play da slots, took him ovah one hour jus’ fo’ find one open machine. But when he put in his dollah and press da button—Jackpot!—he win! He put in one mo’ dollah, he hit da button, he win again! All night long, he no can lose; every time he play dat machine, he win. Too bad da buggah only pay off in soda, not dollahs. Oh well, at least he went win enough fo’ bring back one case fo’ everybody who wen’ loan him money.
His next-door neighbah, Mr. Chang, he laugh up when he hear da story. He tell my cousin he shouldah waited one mo’ year, for 8/08/08. Mr. Chang tell, in China, everybody know dat 7 no mean’ notting; 8 is da mos’ lucky numbah. Ovah there, they even pay mo’ money fo’ get one phone numbah or license plate wit’ one 8 inside ‘em! I tol’ my cousin no even t’ink about asking me fo’ money in August 2008. I no believe dat kine stuffs. Plus, he not even Chinese.
Mr. Chang said in China, da mos’ bad luck numbah is 4, ‘cause da way they write ‘em, look like da word fo’ death. So in China, plenny buildings no mo’ da 4th floor. Just like ovah heah, how some hotels leave out da 13th floor. So if you supa-stitious, you gotta make sure you no stay on da 14th floor, ‘cause 13 is still 13, no matta what you call ‘em. Unless you stay in China. Then you gotta count from da 5th floor which is ackchally da 4th, so when you get to 13, dass really da 12th. My head come sore jus’ trying fo’ figga all dat out. Dass why I no waste time wit’ good luck/bad luck numbahs an’ silly supa-stitions li’ dat. Except fo’ Friday da 13th—my lucky day.
Knock on wood. T’ree times.