the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Luck is Getting Three Chopsticks


Today, on the second day of my New York trip, I felt my luck changing.  Why?  Because we went out for sushi and when I opened my package of wooden chopsticks, there were three individual chopsticks inside.  Now getting three chopsticks seems as useless as three shoelaces in one package, but the waitress said that in her seven years of waitressing, she never saw this happen before, and said it was “for good luck.”

It is important to work hard and take chances, but let’s be honest with ourselves — there’s a lot of luck involved in life.    Sometimes, we just find ourselves in the right place at the right time.  I know there are some of you that think that everything is dependent on some “secret” or that God actually cares if you win the big game, but that’s insulting to the important concept of “LUCK.” 

Getting three chopsticks is pure luck. 

Unlucky is paying fifty bucks to take a romantic buggy ride through Central Park and getting stuck with a driver who spends the whole trip gossiping on her phone with her girlfriend from Brooklyn. 


Unlucky is getting a modeling job where you have to sit around Rockefeller Center in your underwear… in late December.


Unlucky is coming to New York to take a photo of your family in front of the “big tree,” not realizing that 1000 other families are also there, blocking your view.


We had a nice day, so we were lucky.











  1. Rhea

    A masterful look at luck as well as a great travelogue.

  2. People in the Sun

    Unless one of the chopsticks is poisoned.

    • Ken

      … unless you choose the two un-poisoned chopsticks to eat with, in which case it is lucky.

  3. Bre

    I’d say bopping around the city with folks you love is pretty lucky. Have fun!

  4. Angella

    That’s Sophia’s Mom, right? Because HOLY RESEMBLANCE BATMAN.

    Your photos make me want to visit New York even more (I have never been).

    Happy Holidays!

  5. 180/360

    3 chopsticks MUST be lucky! COOL. And that has to be your mother.

  6. 180/360

    PS. Any cool exhibits at MOMA???

  7. Eileen

    The shots of the city are great. NY should pay you.

  8. AscenderRisesAbove

    wishing you the best of luck, regardless

    I really like the photos of sophia in the matching color coat as the wall. very nice

  9. LVGurl

    I can’t see a Central Park buggy ride without thinking… Beef-A-Reeno, fit for a king and queen-o.

  10. MapleMama

    Ahhhh – I miss NYC at xmas time. Thanks for the memories and I love, love, LOVE the pic of the sax player in Central Park! Man – his chops must be cold!

    Best of LUCK on the rest of your travels.

  11. Kyra

    Hmmm you get to take pictures of underwear models just lounging around… Most guys I know would say that was pretty lucky! 😉

  12. tamarika

    Gee, I wish I had seen you at the tree. Your photo and written description was perfect. I had a great day too – though rather rushed. And Oy! I wanna meet your mama. She looks great! I’m going to call you soon. Smiles and waves.

  13. Nina

    You should have told the buggy driver to get off the phone – or I hope at least you didn’t tip her. That’s just plain rude. I love the pics of you and your people. If you aren’t up to much tomorrow, you can try to hunt down mittens. I have to pair to hide tomorrow, and though there are targets for them, they are fair game if someone finds them first. If you want to be a mitten target yourself, let me know.

  14. Jennifer

    You know, these posts are making me even more upset at missing my NYC trip this week. Bah humbug.

  15. Finn

    I love the photo of the sax player in the park. Excellent! I want a copy.

    Three chopsticks? I’d say that’s very lucky. From the Dartmouth Web site:

    “Three represents the triad of family; male, female, and child; beginning, middle, and end; birth, life, and death.

    Of two things we say both; of three things we say all.

    Hopper writes that a single occurance is of no statistical significance, a second occupance might be just coincidence, but a third occurrence gives the event the impress of law, thus the Gypsy belief that if a dream comes three times it is certain to be true.

    Three became the most universal number of deity, like the Holy Trinity that we’ll cover in a later unit. There were three primary gods of Babylon Anu, Bel, and Ea representing heaven, earth, and the abyss.

    Sun worship is one of the most primitive forms of religion, and early man sometimes distinguished between rising, midday, and setting sun. The Egyptians, for example, divided the sun god into three deities:

    Horus, rising sun Ra or Rê, midday sun Osiris, old setting sun “

  16. psychomom

    Very Nice Photos!

    Hi Mom

  17. Danny

    Oh, I miss New York! And I’m sure you weren’t on that buggy with the driver talking on her cell phone, right? Sophia never would have stood for that.

    How about a trip to Sammy’s Roumanian on the Lower East Side? A pitcher of chicken fat on every table, great if hideously unhealthy food, and a heimishe atmosphere you’d both LOVE! OR, if you’re feeling more classy, the High Tea at Payard’s on Lexington on the Upper East Side is to die for. I also like the restaurant on the balcony of Grand Central Station, one of my favorite buildings in New York. And the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Battery Park has some fantastic exhibits right now. I WANT TO BE A PART OF IT…NEW YORK, NEW YORK!

    Will you be taking out a bank loan and going to any Broadway shows? I loved “Cymbeline” at Lincoln Center and also thought “Young Frankenstein” was a scream (but don’t get those ridiculous premium tickets).

  18. Los Angelista

    Oh that looks like a good time. Three chopsticks does sound quite lucky but even more, it looks like you’re making your own luck and enjoying yourself to the hilt! Good for you!

  19. V-Grrrl

    Love the photo of the sax player

  20. churlita

    I love your photo posts. I hope your (mostly) good luck holds.

  21. Nics

    You’ve just reminded me that we didn’t get any Chinese food when we were in New York at Halloween. I loved your native city btw!

  22. Kiki

    I “heart” New York! Gorgeous–great pics of a great city–there is nothing like the smell of pretzels from vendor carts on a a cold winter’s day in NYC!

  23. Jennifer

    And also, it occurs to me that you should take photos of Sophia’s shoes visiting NYC. Seeing as she took so many with her, it only seems fair to show them off.

  24. Atomic Bombshell

    I’m with Angella. If that’s YOUR mom, you might want to mention something to your shrink about how you married your mother’s stunt double.

  25. Paris Parfait

    Great photos, Neil – especially the saxophone player one – really terrific! And the three chopsticks must be good luck – I mean, how often does that happen in life??!! Hope you and Sofia have a wonderful holiday season and fantastic new year! xo

  26. DrowseyMonkey

    Love the post…lol. The pictures are great, esp the one of the guy playing the sax.

  27. OMSH

    Um… I seriously just scrolled back and forth from your mom to Sophia and my jaw is dropping.

    You don’t see the resemblance?
    At least in the photos?

    It is really, really …just, wow.

    Like the sax shot.
    Looks cold.
    Stay warm!

  28. Ellen Bloom

    Oh yeah…I don’t want to get all Freudian on you either, but in those hats, all bundled up, Sophia positively resembles your Mom! Oy!

    Don’t forget to go over to Yonah Shimmels on Houston St. for some delicious knishes!

  29. Pearl

    Yes, that sax player snapshot is fabulous. Blow it up to poster size and caption it “Sax in the City”!

  30. Neil

    Funny, you like the sax player. I like the photo of the girl in the lingerie.

  31. tongue in cheek

    three chopsticks is re discovering your blog!
    Happy day!

  32. Gordon

    I got three chopsticks in a package 10 days ago!!
    I had just decided to visit Thailand and booked my flight, I went to a local mall to mosey around and got hungry to eat something in the food court. There was a Thai food place there and I decided to order a pad thai, when my order was ready I reached into the bin with the chopsticks and grabbed a package, it had three chopsticks in it.

    Everyone was amazed, including me. I asked the old chinese ladies that were clearing the tables if they had ever seen it before, NOPE they haven’t, that was over 160 years of chopstick experience and none had heard of it.

    I’m so glad I found this blog, to share my joy and good fortune. I’m sure its a good sign as I have never been outside North America as an adult, I’m 53 now.

    I originally googled three chop sticks in a package with no hits, but when I added “what are the chances” I got this blog.

    A warm cuddly hug to my fellow chopstick chomping kin.

    ps.. I use chopsticks all the time, even as a white guy.

  33. Curtis

    I just got three chopsticks at a sushi restaurant in Los Angeles Friday!

  34. Pantalon

    Happy to see your blog as it is just what I’ve looking for and excited to read all the posts.

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