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  • I am way too rational, cynical, practical, scientific, skeptical to place belief into the power of charms. The inverse square law makes it difficult to ascribe much power to a small cloth packet.

    Rattling around the console of my 1998 Ford F-150 truck among the coins, rubber bands, lighters, forest service map, glucose tablets, emergency radio, sunglasses, tire gauge, cough drops, Leatherman pocket tool... is a small blue pouch with a temple scene on one side and 3 letter inscriptions on the other.

    I picked up this Omamori in Kyoto Japan back in 2008. My friend Bert took me to visit the Ginkakuji Temple and explained the strong interest among Japanese in the influence of these good luck charms. There was one that was intended to help students do better on tests. He pointed out the one for drivers and travelers --- kōtsū-anzen. I have no memories of my rationale for buying it, but it was on the order of What The ______.

    I've owned Red Dog for 3+ years, and traveled over 50,000 miles in it, a big loop around the USA and Canada, and a few back and forth cross country trips. I've laughed in there, gotten sick, slept, cried, froze, locked myself out, locked myself in, munched countless pretzels and chips, live broadcasted on internet radio, sang, yelled at cows, pounded the steering wheel...

    The charm has been there for all of that, tucked quietly away in the Console of Junk. I've had dead batteries, a few slippery spots where four wheel drive was needed, busted headlight, a run in with an elk that resulted in a hole in the front trim, two photo radar tickets, another run in with a pole at a gas station in Colborne, Ontario. But all of this is minor, nothing serious has happened in that truck.

    Can I give credit to a piece of cloth from a Japanese temple? Common sense says no. But I see no reason to not keep the charm in the truck. It Can't Hurt.

    But the strings are grimy, the color fading. They are supposed to be replaced once a year to get rid of off bad luck from the last year. I've not done that.

    I do not believe it has power.

    But it does no harm to keep it.

    It is a lot more sensible than a foot of a rabbit.
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