The Man Who Did Not Believe in Luck
by Jerome K. Jerome
(about 3300 words)
In this hilariously ironic story, two men meet on a train and the unfortunate strike of a horseshoe on one of their heads sparks a conversation between them on the nature of luck and life. The poor man has surely had his share of fortunate instances turning into spectacularly bad luck, as is foreshadowed in the horseshoe strike. But luck as we think of it doesn’t exist. Luck is merely what you make out of the situations life gives you. Ironically, our unlucky protagonist doesn’t believe in luck himself, for completely the opposite reason: life has given him fortune after fortune which he has ruined with his own poor decision making. This realization is the heart of the humor of this story.
Jerome Klapka Jerome was born on May 2, 1859 in Staffordshire, England. The son of an ironmonger, Jerome wished to become a politician, however the death of both of his parents in his early teens forced him to give up his studies. He briefly tried acting with no success. He first attempt at writing likewise ended in rejection after rejection. Not until he wrote about his time in the theatre did he receive any success at all. His first novel Three Men in a Boat won him phenomenal acclaim and sold over a million copies worldwide. With this new financial security, Jerome stopped bouncing between careers and devoted his time entirely to his writing.
Jerome died of a stroke on June 14, 1927 at the age of 68.