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We all get lucky sometimes. In all the various ways.

Maybe it’s the color of your skin. Maybe it’s that your parents have money, or live in a great school district, or are still married. Maybe it’s the Big Break, the Long Shot. Maybe you’re pretty, or maybe you’re smart, or maybe you’re in the right place at the right time to meet the right person. Maybe they buy your book. Maybe you’re spotted in the crowd. Maybe the manager says the right thing in front of the CEO and you get the promotion. Maybe the car doesn’t jump the curb. Maybe someone’s watching when he puts his hand under your skirt. Maybe they believe you when you tell. Maybe your parents throw you a coming-out party.

And we all understand that for all the times we get lucky, there are other people who, in the small dark secret corners of their heart, hear “but why couldn’t it have been me, I needed that” and sometimes they really did need that and it’s not just jealousy speaking, not greed.

Maybe they could have used that money you spent on a fancy coffee to buy diapers. Maybe they could have used it for rent, or to keep their lights from getting shut off. Maybe someone should have protected them. Maybe someone should have seen. Maybe the car could have missed their kid. Maybe they’re working two or three jobs while you get your third promotion. Maybe their parents kicked them out at fifteen. Maybe they’re surviving on grit and they’re just as good as everyone else but the fifth cashier today is judging what they’re buying with their food stamps.

Your good luck is no more your fault than their bad luck is theirs. Or yours. If you have the kind of luck that spreads, spread it. Share your knowledge, be a shield, make sure your team gets credit. But not all luck can be shared.

Sometimes the best we can do is to see each other.

To say “I know I was lucky and I wish you’d been lucky too.” To say “I know you didn’t take your lucky moment with the idea that someone else wouldn’t have one.” To say luck isn’t finite or grasping, but we also shouldn’t have to depend on it for our survival.

All those things can be true at the same time.

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