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Who slipped me the felix felicis?

March 14, 2011 - Betsy Bethel
For those of you who aren't Harry Potter fans, felix felicis is a potion also known as liquid luck. When you drink it, you're golden — nothing can go wrong for you until it wears off.

I think someone must have slipped a hefty dose in my morning coffee, because since Thursday I have had several serendipitous experiences.

The first was Thursday night at Toys R Us. Back story: My daughter's fifth birthday was coming up and she asked for the "Rapunzel makeup shop" that lets you "paint Rapunzel with makeup and fix her hair and even color her hair!" I eventually found out that doll doesn't exist. The sneaky Disney marketing people must have put three dolls in one commercial. I told Emma she could pick one. She decided on the hair color one.

Thursday was the last possible time I could go to Toys R Us because of my hectic schedule. I dropped Emma off with Grandma after work and high-tailed it Toys R Us. I had found the doll on the store website earlier, so I knew what I was looking for. I kept my eyes straight ahead (I get so distracted in that place!) and located the Disney princess aisle. Yes, there's a whole AISLE of it. There were mini-Rapunzels and babydoll Rapunzels and disembodied-head Rapunzels with acres of hair to style. There was Flynn Rider and a Rapunzel with a hair extension and a Rapunzel that comes with a hair-twister doodad. But no Create and Color Rapunzel.

Muttering under my breath, I headed to customer service, where the clerk checked her computer. Nope, they didn't have it. She showed me the screen. There were 42 Rapunzel items pictured. None of them with colored hair. I threw up my hands and headed back to Rapunzel Land, resigned to find a second-best gift for Emma. Maybe she won't remember which one she wanted, I fooled myself.

After looking at the dolls for another five minutes, I chose one. I picked up the box that was lying flat on top of the boxes that were facing me on the shelf. Lo and behold, it was Create and Color Rapunzel! I practically skipped to the checkout. Now it was the lady's turn to throw up her hands. She didn't know why it wasn't on the computer nor why it wasn't displayed properly on the shelf. I didn't care. I had Emma's first-choice gift!

Coincidence No. 2

So, the next morning, Friday, I was rushing around my house trying to get all my stuff together before work. I had to take my pipe band uniform with me for a St. Patrick's Day-themed gig that night at Mountaineer Casino. I was late, as usual. I was cussing myself out because for almost a year, I kept my goofy St. Pat's paraphernalia in a basket on my dresser. All year, I would rummage through it looking for other things and wonder: "Why don't I put that silly green tie and those green beads and bracelets out of the way?" Apparently, I did that at one point. But where did I stash them?

I looked in my dresser's junk drawers, rifled through my storage chest, checked under the bed and took everything out of the far reaches of my closet. I gave up and brushed my teeth. I went downstairs. Then I decided I had to look one more time. With every step up the staircase I berated myself for losing my goofy green gear. I walked into my room and just stood there staring blankly for a moment, thinking. I snapped out of it when I heard a thump in the corner where a pile of junk from beside my storage chest had fallen over. I had looked there earlier, but when I went to pick up the stuff, there, in the bottom of a basket, were my tie, beads and bracelets!

Coincidence No. 3

That night, a band member was playing a solo while the rest of the band stood by on stage. I pushed up my green shamrock glasses and the next thing I knew my left contact popped out of my eye. It was dark in there, and I had only one good eye, but after only about 10 panicky seconds, I spotted it. I wear hard contacts and have been having trouble with dry eyes. I hated to think what it was going to feel like when I put it back in. I went off to the side, knelt down, wet my finger and rubbed it on the lens — something I NEVER do, but I was in the middle of a show! — then I popped it back in and joined the band again. No pain. No dryness. No cloudiness or smudges. I was golden.

The whole rest of the night, including the 45-minute drive home, my eyes were comfortable and my vision was crystal clear. They actually felt better than usual. When I got home and took out my contacts, I held the left one up to the bathroom light. It had a small black fiber smack in the middle of it, which normally would have caused an excruciating stabbing pain. The contact also was smudged and cloudy. I just shook my head, washed it and went to bed.

Coincidence No. 4

The last memorable experience occurred Saturday following the St. Patrick's Day parade in downtown Pittsburgh. All four of us that rode in my car were hell-bent on hitting up the Pittsburgh Popcorn Co. in the Strip District afterward. But first we had to walk all the way from the Steelworkers building at the end of the route, about two miles from my car. Then the popcorn shop was another half mile past my car.

We were pressed for time because we had to get to another gig at The Piper's Pub on the South Side. We were tired but trying to hurry as best we could in kilts while lugging bagpipes and drums. About halfway down Liberty Avenue, a sandwich board in the middle of the sidewalk declared "Garlic Parmesan," "Jolly Green Apple," "White Chocolate Lepre-Corn." I looked up. It was a Pittsburgh Popcorn Co. shop! Woot woot! None of us had any idea there was another one. (In fact, there are three; the third is in Oakland.)

I don't know what was behind all these coincidences. Felix felicis? I wish there were such a thing; I bet it would fetch a pretty price at the local casinos.

Oh well. I AM part Irish, so maybe it was one of the "wee folk" come to lend me a helping hand. Leprechauns might be better known for their shenanigans, but who am I to quibble? Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!


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