Writing about four-leaf clovers, Steven Levitt says, “I’ve been looking my whole life and never found one.” This reminds me that when I was a kid, my sister Susie and I used to find them in the backyard all the time. We’d also occasionally find siamese dandelions (one stalk, two heads) that we’d put on our older sister’s bed to freak her out. Much later, Susie told me that our land was on some sort of former waste dump and so we (along with the clovers and dandelions) were probably being poisoned.
The New York version of this story: several years ago I was standing on the subway platform, and I offhandedly said to my companion, Hey, let’s look for rats. We looked, and, indeed, there was a rat. I mean, I knew that there were rats in the subway–I’ve occasionally even seen them on the platform–but I didn’t know they could be summoned at will in this way.