Friday, June 23, 2006


So a few days back a black cat crossed my path.

No, wait, it wasn't a solid black cat - it had a single white paw. Does that still count? And it didn't officially cross my path, it crossed the path of my vehicle, and about an eighth of a mile away. So does that mean that the vehicle gets the bad luck, and not me?

This got me going on further questions regarding black-cattedness. If I had a passenger, would they be affected as well by the bad luck? How close behind the black cat must you be in order to be affected? Does the bad fortune linger like radiation? Does it only count if you see the black cat making the crossing? Does the bad luck flow backwards from them like a comet's tail? Does it surround them like a sphere, becoming an ovoid when in motion? Is the bad luck zone a line with a binary tripwire, or it is zone in which bad fortune is accumulated over time spent within the zone? If the later is the case, then does speed of the person affected (such as in a moving vehicle) a factor? And if that is the case, why don't we recommend that people run as fast as they can when a black cat crosses their path?

And if you change your path because the black cat, does that truly negate the effect? Isn't a path a declaration of intent in the future as well as history in the past? Do you have to catch up to black cat and cross in front of it in order to avoid the bad luck? And since cats rarely move in straight lines, what happens if its path curves away from you, or doubles back, or slams into other landmarks as the cat rubs up against buildings?

Further, what is the duration of black cat bad fortune? Does it last a day? An hour? Until the next rest cycle, when good fortune recovers through inactivity? Until you forget about it? Can it be negated by any specific anti-black-cat activity, or is bad luck all of one specific type, regardless if it is gained by black cats or breaking mirrors or walking under ladders? Is bad luck a single state, or can it be increased or decreased over time?

The sad conclusion is that real-world magic and superstition doesn't function like it does in the D&D Player's Handbook. Pity about that.

More later,