Unlucky for some, say scientists


SCIENTISTS have managed to isolate the ‘unlucky gene’. It’s always been the case that some people appear to be ‘lucky’ and others ‘unlucky’, and now these researchers say they have found the cause – genetic, like so many things these days. Some people do seem to enjoy rather more than their share of good fortune; I’m in that class myself, and believe me, I do appreciate it.

For others, if things can go wrong then they will, and I can’t help but wonder if, subconsciously, these people invite bad luck.


I’ve got a neighbour like that in the UK. She’s a widow, and not very able, so I do what I can to make her life a little easier, but everything – everything – tends to turn into disaster.

A couple of years ago she had a knee replacement and despite many revisions by the hospital, she’s still having trouble walking. She uses her garage as a store for books (all the shelves in her flat are full) and she had the builders in, not because the garage roof was leaking, but because she was afraid it might. And now it does!

It’s my opinion that most people struggle through life taking the good with the bad, enjoying the one and often making jokes about the other.

I never win raffles or lotteries, but if I really need a spot of good fortune, Lady Luck usually obliges. When I ran my own one-man business many years ago, my workshop was one of a row of small lock-ups. We were all fairly young and struggling, helping one another out when we could, and one man used to augment his income by organising all kinds of raffles.

On the corner was a service station with a woman (Mrs Burdett, if I remember correctly) as cashier, and she was so lucky with these raffles that in the end the others of our lot wouldn’t buy a ticket if she was in it. I don’t know if you recall Gladstone Gander in the Donald Duck cartoon, but he had a crate outside his house with a notice: ‘Please leave prizes in the box’. Well, Mrs Burdett was like that.

I’ve had some wonderful strokes of luck, and I’ve had some awkward semi-disasters, but looking back, it seems to me that if there is a ‘lucky gene’, I scored even there. I thought it bad luck when, on my call-up, the RAF refused me a two or three week deferment to allow me to complete my University Entrance Exams; but I’ve wondered since if that wasn’t for the best. I never did get to University, but I did pretty well in my career with Higher National Certificates instead.

So, what is this lucky gene? If these researchers really have managed to isolate it, what then? It’s not as though everyone has only good or only bad luck. For most of us it’s a mixture that makes life interesting, and if that gene could be modified, what would come next? There has already been talk of a ‘happiness gene’ which could in theory make us all ‘happy’. Shades of Orwell’s 1984!

Given a free hand, the scientists might turn us all into robots.



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