There’s this phrase that I sometimes see floating around the internet, usually in fancy fonts and colors, printed over a dramatic picture, to make it seem more profound. It’s one of those feel-good cliche quotations that seem to grow out of the aether, although this particular quote is often attributed to Sarah Jessica Parker. The quote is this:
Like the grinch that I am, I hate the everloving hell out of this cutesy-ass phrase, and not just because no one can agree on how to punctuate it.
You may remember (or, if you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed) that I find four-leaf clovers with a regularity that borders on witchcraft. I don’t mean once in a while. I mean several times a week, usually several at a time, sometimes many times in a single day. My record for most four- and five-leaf clovers found in a single patch is 36. THIRTY SIX. I find these suckers with such regularity that it’s almost annoying; I don’t know what to do with them. I give them away to strangers on the street. They’re a plague on my house. The damn things are stalking me.
No surprise, then, that I take umbrage with the suggestion that there is anything hard to find about four-leaf clovers. They’re not hard to find if you know what you’re doing. Is there luck involved? Yeah, probably, a little bit, but the fact of the matter is that four-leaf clovers are a dime a dozen, and if you know how to look for them, you can find them as obnoxiously often as I do. They’re everywhere.
But you know what? So are good friends.
The problem with the aforementioned cutesy phrase is not that it draws a bad parallel. It’s that it draws the parallel for the wrong reasons. Good friends are like four-leaf clovers: easy to find if you know how to look, and always in mundane places.
You don’t find four-leaf clovers in idyllic meadows next to babbling brooks with a beautiful rainbow overhead. The fourth leaf is a genetic defect that results from poor soil conditions, and thus you are far more likely to find the elusive lucky clover in a scraggly, dirty patch in a sidewalk next to a freeway where apartment-dwellers take their dogs to pee at 1 in the morning. So, too, are good friends hiding in the everyday, down-to-earth places you’d never think to look for them. They’re that girl you sit next to on the bus during your morning commute, or that dude with the cool hat that you always run into at the store at 11 at night.
It’s not about luck. It’s about how you do your looking.
If a man who cannot count finds a four-leaf clover, is he lucky?