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Friday, April 18, 2014

Magic jerseys, lotteries: It never hurts to dream

By Suzanne Perez Tobias

Hate all you want on 8-year-old Palmer Kiefer and his parents.

Say they care too much about basketball.

Say they took their Jayhawk passions too far.

Say that wearing the same shirt for nearly three weeks — or letting your son wear one — is something between bizarre and insane.

I think it’s sweet.

The Wichita second-grader wore his blue No. 15 University of Kansas jersey for 18 straight days recently — to school, to the zoo, to the dentist and to church — convinced it harbored some sort of magic mojo that was helping the Jayhawks win basketball games.

He wouldn’t let his mom wash it or spray it with Febreze, afraid that might wash away the luck. She didn’t push the issue, just made sure he bathed and changed his undershirt.

In the end, KU lost anyway.

Palmer watched Monday’s game on a makeshift drive-in screen outside a neighbor’s house, his crossed fingers and ketchup-stained jersey a testament to abiding faith.

Proves that sort of stuff is ridiculous, right?

Probably.

But how many of you bought a Mega Millions lottery ticket last week?

My family did. We bought two, in fact: one with our birth dates for numbers and one with our ages, with a couple of semi-random “lucky numbers” thrown in as well.

My son, Jack, picked 37 because it was the closest thing to 73. Our favorite television character, physicist Sheldon Cooper from “The Big Bang Theory,” declared 73 to be the best number. (Why? “Seventy-three is the 21st prime number. Its mirror (37) is the 12th, and its mirror (21) is the product of multiplying … 7 and 3. … In binary, 73 is a palindrome: 1001001, which backwards is 1001001.”)

Yeah, we’re nerds.

And we like to dream, which is, of course, the only logical reason to buy a lottery ticket.

On the way home from QuikTrip, we talked about the ski house we’d buy, the trips we’d take, the friends and family members we’d shower with gifts and the checks we’d write to our favorite charities. I could almost see the new tile in our bathroom.

Odds or no odds, I considered that $2 well spent.

It’s OK to dream a little dream, or even a big one. When my kids were younger, we closed our eyes and made wishes on all sorts of things: birthday candles, dandelion seed heads, Volkswagen Beetles, spilled salt, stray eyelashes, the last bite of pie.

And chip trucks.

That one started during the morning drives to my children’s preschool, when we noticed that a potato-chip delivery truck was parked in the same spot each day. One morning I yelled, “Chip truck! Make a wish!” and blew into the air toward the truck.

Hannah and Jack hesitated, shrugged — what? chip-truck wishes? who knew? — but mimicked me anyway. After all, this was the same Mom who threw perfectly good money into a fountain at the beach. She must know what she’s doing.

To this day, we yell “Chip truck!” whenever we see a truck emblazoned with Lays or Doritos, and we faithfully, nonsensically make our wishes.

Do they come true? Not always.

Or maybe just not yet.

Reach Suzanne Perez Tobias at 316-268-6567 or stobias@wichitaeagle.com.

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