The Blog Squad

Friday, February 23, 2007

Good Week for Bad Luck

Luck, it seems, is king. Pure chance, a coin toss, a roll of the dice. And because luck is king, we are its subjects and we court its favor no matter how much we profess to be followers of sober logic and reason. Why all this philosophizing? Because of the dude in the samurai outfit at UVA.

OK -- so this guy, a Darden graduate business student named Hideki Inoue got lucky. So lucky he was actually dubbed Darden’s Luckiest Student when he was randomly chosen from 335 first-year graduate students to take part in a weird real-life risk assessment experiment involving two suitcases and a big sum of money. (The samurai outfit was all his idea.)

I’m sure you’ve heard about it by now. In one case -- $17,500 (the cost of one semester of in-state tuition). In the other, zero American dollars. But there was another piece to it. Inoue could have chosen a third option -- walk away free and clear with a lesser amount -- $5,679.

Now I have no idea if Inoue stayed up all night calculating complex equations or studying risk assessment theory but I do know this: When it came down to it, he put on a samurai outfit. He says he wore it to psych himself up but probably somewhere deep down he did it for luck. Anyone who has, say, stayed up until 2:30 a.m. into the third overtime of a hockey playoff game refusing to take off a jersey because her team won every time she was in that jersey or who has worn the same underwear to a series of medical tests as long as everything continues to check out OK can tell you that we say we don’t believe these things make a difference but we secretly do. We believe in luck. And you can be sure that the next time Hideki Inoue finds himself needing good luck, he won’t be dressed as a samurai.

Just curious, friends. What choice would you have made?


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