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Jinx No More: The Good Luck Store

04/03/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I can't believe my luck. I just drove by this new store on my way home. Good luck is for sale here on my busy boulevard. Talk about your good luck! In fact, I would have stopped right away, but I've just spent $7.10 at my favorite thrift shop, a bill I had added in my head that should have been doubled. So perhaps I am feeling, um ... lucky enough today, and don't want to ... sorry, the word for that really is jinx it. Then I have a rather bad thought. The reason she charged me so little -- is today half-off for shoppers "over 50"? Hmm. Since that's an age that's not so far away, that would make me downright unlucky.

Still, I drive home very quickly, so happy about my now-easy fate. How much can good luck cost? Is there a cap? I'm wondering if I can afford it. After all, I suffered, as did we all, in the past year. A stock portfolio that took a solid dip. I had felt, at the time, that it was somewhat karmic, that the suffering didn't skip anyone. But can I afford whatever they have? Might I even get lucky enough to replace Kathy Griffin as Anderson Cooper's date next New Year's Eve?

But what I'm really wondering is, since people have suffered in more than financial ways, why isn't everyone jamming their doorsteps? I'd imagine they'd be crowding in the street. But the street looked empty. Does karma go on sale?

And this is all happening on the very Street Where I Live. How exciting! Much like the lovesick boy sang to Eliza Doolittle, the little pauper girl who bloomed under Rex Harrison. Aw, gee. If I do drag myself in there, am I going to be sappy enough to wish for a guy? I imagine potions, patches, things I can rub behind my ears. Maybe I'll have to sell off some of my stock portfolio, ditch the Calvin Klein One if anything looks particularly promising.

Is it bad luck if I can't afford good luck? But, ow, Wouldn't It Be Loverly?

Of course, we know Wouldn't It Be Loverly is really about being lucky enough to have a room somewhere indoors. Which I do. Uh oh. You see what I might do, instead of rushing straight over there, luv?

I look up "Jinx No More, North Hollywood, CA," when I get home. I want to see what appears on their Web site, what they are professing. But there is "ZERO Jinx No More In North Hollywood," my computer says. Was it a mirage? Not even in the Yellow Pages??

Now, I search "good luck." A kernel of something's here. Why is this different, what's pulling me into this search? I've never been to a psychic, but I can't imagine it's much different.

I try to Google "good luck." Since Google stocks are soaring, they must be doing something right. And unlike the zero that showed for "Jinx No More," over 90 million hits arrive. I couldn't be more pleased. In truth, I'm an optimist. I do a lot of yoga. So I'm happy to see -- if only in kilobytes -- Good Karma is virtually smashing the pants off Jinx No More.

It seems all the energy I channeled into never going to a psychic has been re-routed here. Good luck sayings. Good luck food. Hmm. So easy. Collard greens. In my way, why am I looking it up? Why am I not getting in my car and so easily going there? Is it because I am afraid I will be disappointed? Or more that I know that Jinx No More, like any other form of health, is not something you can buy or a pill you can take. It's the result of your efforts and, just like how liposuction isn't a real cure for weight problems, I think this solution might have to come from within.

There, I did it, again. I knew I would. I curse my bad luck. Can you tell I'm Jewish?

Maybe this is why I have bad luck. I'm reading about it, instead of goin' and gettin' me some. It's like intellectual porn, for me. One Web site even encourages my nonsense. "Don't push your luck!" Do I agree? "Depend on the rabbit's foot, if you will, but remember it didn't work for the rabbit."

I decide to go rent My Fair Lady, which will be in with ... A Little Bit of Luck. But first I head toward Jinx No More. I'm not sure it will even be there. Truly. I drive to where I thought it was. I park across a driveway. Is this possible? This I cannot have made up. The store is there. It's on the corner of Harmony Avenue and Magnolia. I swear to God, that is true. Can that possibly be? I guess good luck awaits those who venture to the corner of Magnolia and Harmony (with apologies to Lerner and Lowe). I'm superstitious enough to find out.

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I approach the Good Luck Store door. I peer inside and see garlic candles and some kind of Tabasco, things in my kitchen. How lucky for me! I wonder again how much this will all cost. This doesn't seem the place to be thrifty. In truth, I am also a tad relieved. I had been afraid it was a medical marijuana place, which would have been a real buzz kill for me.

I am simply dying of curiosity.

Of course, after such a build up, any event can sometimes seem like a letdown -- but just wait. I am inside the store. Not what I might have expected. Candles everywhere. There are also two big props, which I find out later, came from the movie, The Mummy. I meet the owner, Robert. This store has been open for a year. Robert begins by telling me that "everything is dependent on the manipulation of energy." He's big on this. His store does not have a business card, a Web site, a pamphlet. Well, he certainly manipulated me in here.

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"We all need to have some kind of cleansing," he says. He sells a lot of incense, something I have never touched, and frankincense and myrrh, which I recall as having to do with Jesus. I'm not sure I should buy that. He starts with the bigger candles. Nothing in this joint is about making money, he said. I believe him. Everything might be a buck. These first candles are "Road Openers." They have "esperas" (hopes) written in both English and Spanish, and a drawing of the Road carefully marked with an "exito" (uh oh). They also have pictures of Saints. I tell him I am Jewish and don't know if they are for me.

He points me to the clear candles, which have seven colors of luck. He explains what each color is for. Purple -- ironically on the bottom -- is about domination, and is sexual in nature. I can't resist some personal data. "I had a purple car," I tell Robert, laughing. I also mention Burning Man (he's heard of it) and Day of the Dead (he's never been). Do I tell him this to establish my cred? And, hey, I've been to both of those, and I'm laughing at this dude's candles?

The Domination potion (in a barrel of Saved Potions) is also purple. "Bend Over" is the name. I make -- of course I do -- another joke about my love for purple. Robert also has a sense of humor. "It's all about your intention," says my guru-for-today. In fact, this could be my new philosophy, were I not happy enough already with my own.

The potions in the barrel are $30. Some things that could seem a little bit scary. A "Come To Me" potion I kinda do eyeball. But, "it's what's in your heart," Robert reminds me again in a way that makes me feel better.

I put away the "Come To Me" potion -- some might call that a healthy move -- and ask Robert for a suggestion. "Your doors are blocked," he says, and so quickly that I write it down. I don't actually find that until much later. But please make note. Any two-bit, make that, one-note psychic might agree -- but do take notice.

I buy the Road Blocker and two incenses. The candle will burn for a week. There are very specific instructions. Write my name in ink seven times on parchment. Rub the candle on my chakras as he showed me. Hey, you'd do it, too, if you spent six bucks.

I go home and rub the candle everywhere he told me to. You can't publish the places it's
seen. But why not -- me who lights a Yahrzeit candle on every anniversary of family members' deaths? And been to Burning Man? So though I've made fun, in a way, no one knows more than me about this intent. I read a prayer on the candle to an Eternal Father that will "smooth out all the difficulties that are in my way," and put the incense aside for later. I go to sleep smelling my new candle and have a dream about Good Luck in a way that involves George Clooney and also cannot be published in a family newspaper. (Thanks, George!)

Addendum: I wake up in the morning. Smiling (to George). Everything seems OK. I go outside to purchase some coffee and return My Fair Lady, when...

I am in my car. The key will not turn in my lock. I repeat. The key will go into my ignition, but it will not turn. It is -- f**kin' -- blocked, I'd say.

I cannot believe it. I don't know what I looked like at that moment, didn't have it in me to look into my rear view mirror, but if I had, I know I would have seen a wild-eyed hair-of-the-eye look, kind of like when you can't believe something is real. I might be like this on any other day of the year, by the way, minus the promise the candle had made.

I actually call two friends. I'm in shock. I have to repeat, aloud, that a candle I have lit seems to have broken my damn car keys! Both friends remind me to call AAA, since someone who is single feels very alone, at that moment.

The tow truck guy comes. He laughs when I tell him the good luck story. He's also unable to get the key to turn in the ignition a second time, meaning I am unable to turn off the motor, and have to high-tail it to the mechanic without shutting off my car.

Ironically, I have to pass Jinx No More: The Good Luck Store on my way to the mechanic, which, I note, is open. I flip Robert the bird as I pass by.

Addendum to my addendum: It's a thousand dollars later. Thanks a lot, dude. Maybe I could have saved myself the trouble and spent the $30 for the Don't 'Eff Up my Car candle.

Day 2. I am off to a class. I see that the parchment part of the paper has caught fire, giving the candle two flames. I notice that this flame seems dark. This is the part of the paper where Robert had told me to write my name seven times. I see the flame reach only a bit over the glass candle threshold. The glass is really black.

Whatever I have, which we all have -- a touch of OCD, perhaps -- I do make mental note of the higher flame, before I leave. I have a momentary picture of the cabinet above, which houses my glasses and candles, as a matter of fact, going up in flames. But the guy had told me that, no matter what, I can't blow the flame out. It would be bad luck. I move the candle to the side, but there is really no room. I push a bigger piece of aluminum foil underneath it.

As I drive to my class over the hill, I actually have a moment where I envision flames in my kitchen overtaking everything I hold sacred. Luckily for me -- my OCD can make a miraculous transition to Asperger's -- for I forget the imaginary flames the minute I glimpse the SM mountains.

Still, what the 'eff? Clearly someone like me cannot handle this much good luck.

My friend who is an actual sleuth is the one who -- of course -- comes up with the best deduction. I had completely forgotten about the two sticks of incense. In fact, I had put them away. I thought they said "Unblock." But when I open the package, I see that I was wrong. What they really say is "Unlock." Hello? That's what they say. She and I about die laughing at my undeniable message. Is it psychic? Maybe. Good luck? I don't know. Even I have to admit it's certainly bizarre.

I go back and give Robert a chance to 'splain. He tells me that Mercury is in retrograde, and that electronics are all screwy, right now. Okay...

Robert asks me what the flames were like. Dark? Yes, and the candle burned in three days. He looks shocked, a look -- who knows -- he may have perfected in the many acting studios on this very block. (Hey, he's got props from The Mummy that he got at a garage sale on the counter).

He gives me a new candle. For free. This one is really going to be lucky. "Why didn't you give me this in the first place?" I ask. It's got three colors. We'll see.

I don't know if it's psychic. Like I said, this could be just any other day. The only difference, for me, is that I do find the whole thing funny. Now, everyone does know that Tragedy + Time = Comedy, right? So maybe that's my religion. Someone I know from grammar school told me I was funny at six. So could that be my religion, my calling, my joie de vivre?

I light my new candle. It burns clear and bright. Certainly, I wish anyone running a small business in this business climate good luck, so I send good thoughts to Robert, as it lights. And I am again watching My Fair Lady, a movie I love. It was ripped off by another movie I love, Pretty Woman. That stars Julia Roberts. In the middle of this very boulevard -- between me and Jinx No More -- is a DWP which was the setting for Erin Brockovich, which also starred Julia Roberts. See, things really do happen, here in the land of dreams.