Thursday, February 24, 2005

Better to be lucky ...

"I have to have my leaving-the-gate cigarette," said Pvt. Eric T. Cobb, 27, of Salina, Kansas, lighting up with one hand while driving his uparmored M1114 Humvee with the other and looking over his shoulder like a New York cabbie. "The only times we've gotten hit is when I haven't had it. I have to have it ... like his lucky frog." He was referring to the toy frog carried by Sgt. Thomas J. Rollins, 22, of Pottsboro, Texas. Powers are ascribed to the strangest things. In one truck, soldiers have a small green plastic GI on top of the radio, crawling forward over the commo equipment, rifle in one hand, alert for danger. It's the kind that children have played with for generations. Other soldiers don't say things because they believe it will jinx them. They don't talk about their good luck to date, or say that they haven't been hit on a particular road, or that things are quiet. Some even came to believe that a reporter visiting them for a few weeks was a good luck token, and were happy to have him in their trucks.

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