[66 years ago today]
The Yiddish word "shlemazel" or "shlemazzle" means a person who is chronically a victim. The teaching mnemonic is, "the schlemiel spills the soup on the schlemazel."
At Arches National Park in Utah in 2007 I was especially cautious around Balancing Rock because, though it had stood for perhaps thousands of years, if it chose to fall today, and fall on me, not only would I be dead, I would also be ridiculous. I would be a cosmic shlemazel.
It turns out this kind of luck has actually happened to people. In Japanese, the word hibakusha means 'explosion survivor'. Niju hibakusha means 'double explosion survivor'.
On August 6, 1945 - 66 years ago today - Tsumoto Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima on a business trip. An American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, dropped an atomic bomb on the city that day, and Yamaguchi, like many tens of thousands of others, was injured in the immense explosion. So he cut short his trip and went home to Nagasaki.
According to Japanese statistics there were a total of 165 niju hibakusha to whom the same thing happened. I don't know if Mr. Yamaguchi was a believing Buddhist or not, but if he was, he must have been a real schmuck in a past life to have such mazel. Or maybe not. He died last year at the age of 93.