My friend Allen has taken to calling me Lucky LaRosa and I’d be the first one to admit that, yes, I have been very lucky in life. I believe luck is a much undervalued element of life, probably because it cannot be controlled. You can’t study for it. You can’t inherit it. You can’t pay a tutor extra to teach you luck. You’re either lucky or you’re not.
And yes, I’ve been lucky. Just look at the small example from this week. I rarely drive my car into the belly of the beast — rush hour Manhattan traffic — but the other day I did much to my chagrin. I found myself in the 20’s utterly unable to find a north-bound street on the west side that was not choked with traffic. If there’s one thing I hate more than traffic, it’s listening to traffic reports on the radio that say nothing about the maddening traffic I’m stuck in. It’s like telling me I don’t exist.
Finally, I could take no more. When the traffic reporter gave that little tag line I’ve heard 100 times — if you’re stuck in traffic, give us a call and let us know — I picked up the cell phone and dialed quickly while I could remember what the number was. I started telling them about the horrible mess I was stuck in and, as I did, I made a right turn from the left-most lane across three lanes of traffic. I’m lucky I didn’t get hit but, really, the luck Gods were just getting started.
Immediately, I heard and saw police lights behind me and knew that I was that guy, the one being pulled over for driving like a maniac. I didn’t deny it. When the officer walked over to my car, I said, “Hey guess what? I was on the phone calling 1010 WINS to report how horrible this traffic is.”
He looked at me and said, “Oh really? Did you tell them about the guy making an illegal right-hand turn from the left lane while he was on the phone?”
For a split second, I didn’t know what he was talking about and then I realized he was talking about me. “Uh no, I didn’t tell them about that.”
His next words were ‘License and registration.”
I handed them over and that’s when I realized I had forgotten to put my new registration sticker in the window. Whoo-hoo, a rare trifecta!! I was guilty of three — count them, three — traffic infractions.
I sat in my car and figured, oh well, I deserve whatever ticket I get. The cop walked back over and started asking me who I worked for (I have NYP press plates) and had I always lived in Brooklyn because his wife’s family was from there. We shot the shit about Brooklyn for a couple of minutes and then, he let me go. No ticket!
Luck? Charm? A kindly officer? I don’t know but I like to think luck is on my side, yes it is.