Stepping on the cracks between stones on footpaths, pavements and sidewalks has been linked with an increased risk of bad luck. A detailed study, carried out for the World Health Organisation (WHO) by a team of data scientists from the University of Westeros, has classified walking on cracks as “misfortunogenic to humans”.
A crack as narrow as 2mm, when coming into contact with the sole of one foot, has been identified with a 22.2734% increased risk of losing your job, being dumped, locking your keys in the car and other common misfortunes. A Westeros University spokesperson said, “we crunched the data over some beers one afternoon. We might have been a bit loose with some decimal points, but there’s definitely something in it. Put it this way, if you walked down the street in a nonchalant and carefree way today, I wouldn’t go to the casino after work – it could be messy.”
Following recent revelations about the cancer risks from eating bacon and sausages, Health Ministry officials moved quickly to allay public concern:
“What we’re not saying to people is: don’t leave the house. That would be silly. It’s perfectly possible to keep your feet inside the whole of the flagstone if you’re careful. It might take people a bit longer to get to work, but it’s worth it if you want to avoid parking fines or losing a winning scratchcard down the back of the sofa,” said one official.
A hastily issued press release summarises the key guidelines as follows:
- Always wear footwear: shoes – even jandals – offer some protection from misfortune
- If you do accidentally step on a crack, a quick hop on the affected foot for three seconds should nullify any unfortunate effects
- Ignore old rhymes and trust the research: the bad luck effect cannot be transferred to another party, so you’re unlikely to “step on a crack and break your mother’s back”
A recent survey by the UK’s Daily Mail claimed that over half of the respondents avoided cracks ‘at all costs’. This was described as ‘really encouraging’ by the Westeros research team. “We can’t ban or tax walking on cracks,” said one, “so the only tool we have is better education about the risks. It’s good to know that the message is getting through, but there’s still a long way to go. And if you can’t avoid walking on cracks, then at least try to cut down on the number of cracks you tread on each day.”
When quizzed today, most Wellington residents seemed unconcerned.
“Bloody experts! They’ll be telling us you can get dehydrated from water next,” grumbled Dave Midas. “I once got horribly boozed in Courtenay Place and was walking barefoot on the pavement outside Kitty’s, jumping on cracks all over the place. Yet I met the girl of my dreams just half an hour later. I’m off for a bacon sandwich and a smoke.”
Sorry for the long interval between drinks folks. More blog posts coming soon, serious and silly…