Lucky or unlucky? Working through nine lives

By Ken Powell

Lucky or working your way through nine lives? Picture by Alexandra Martin

Lucky or working your way through nine lives?
Picture by Alexandra Martin

FRANK Selak is credited as either the unluckiest man alive or the luckiest, depending on your viewpoint.

In his life he has:

  • survived a train crash where the train plunged into an icy river killing 17 people. Selak suffered hypothermia and a broken arm;
  • been thrown from a plane during flight when the door flew open. 19 people died but Selak landed in a haystack;
  • survived a bus crash which killed four after skidding into a river;
  • escaped from his car when it caught fire with just seconds to spare before it exploded;
  • leapt from his car as it smashed through a mountain road barrier and fell 300 feet. He had attempted to avoid the large truck coming straight for him.

I think a contender for his title though is Roy Sullivan, a park ranger at Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park. The poor guy has been struck by lightning seven times. Seven times!

He holds the Guinness World Record for this but I bet he wishes he didn’t.

I’ve been pondering this recently after my own little foray into using up my ‘nine lives’.

Recently my family and I returned to Bangladesh for a few weeks to see friends and give our children a much-needed ‘return home’ for the first time in 2 ½ years. Regular readers will know my wife and I worked out there for nearly six years.

My wife though was diagnosed with a problem just days before leaving which required urgent surgery. We had to cut our Bangladesh trip short by several days.

I spent my last four days of the holiday shopping extremely close by to where terrorists would attack a restaurant just a few days later.

Had we not cut our trip short I would have still been there at the time of the attacks.

Several of my friends eat at that restaurant regularly and we’re all feeling just a little pale at the thought any of them could have been in that list of 20 who were murdered.

Instead of staying, my daughter and I travelled home on the 27th June stopping over at Istanbul airport on the way.

One day later, terrorists attacked the airport killing over 40 people. Originally, my wife’s operation was scheduled a day later and we would have done the wait in Istanbul on the day of the attacks itself.

Considering my daughter was with me, I’m extremely grateful to God, karma, the Universe or fate (whatever floats your boat) that nothing happened and we’re now safely back in the UK.

So we’re thankful that we’ve avoided two international news incidents in one week but also rather hoping that we’re not really going to work our way through the remaining seven lives. It’s not a fun theory to check out when it happens to you for real.

We’re not cats, after all.