February 25, 2017

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Make Your Own Lucky Break: Synthetic Wishbones

Lucky Break Wishbone Company

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I know I did.

But you know, just because the holiday is over doesn’t mean all the festivities have to end. I figured now was a perfect time for this story, out of the Why Didn’t I Think of That? vault.

But first, a personal anecdote:

While having dinner with family and friends last Thursday, I was handed the wishbone from the turkey. I thought about what I’d wish for. I decided to be selfish, and wish for good tidings for myself in the coming year. I played with the moist little wishbone in my hand for a bit. Which side should I grab? Which side was likely to be the “good” side?

Then I had an idea- I’d ask my mom to break it with me. My mom, I figured, would also wish for my good health and happiness in the coming year. I handed her one side of the wishbone and we pulled. But it didn’t break. It hadn’t dried out enough.

“I think you would have been good either way,” my mom said.

“I know,” I told her. “That’s why I wanted to break it with you.”

I put the wishbone aside, to let it dry. Here it is, several days after Thanksgiving, and I still haven’t broken the wishbone. But, the way I see it, it doesn’t need to be broken. We were both going to wish for the same thing anyway. So I put the nasty little bone on my bookshelf, and there it will stay.

But what am I going to do the next time I want to snap a wishbone in half? Wait for another year to go by? Re-purpose my selfish-wishbone? Go out and buy a turkey? Thanks to the genius of Ken Ahroni, none of that will be necessary.

It was exactly 10 years ago that Ken Ahroni was sitting at the dinner table, celebrating Thanksgiving. According to his website, his inner monologue went something like this:

“[T]he simple truth is that the wishbone belong to the young. I couldn’t even remember the last time I was lucky enough to get my hand on one.” This reserved, melancholy musing soon turned to pragmatic indignation. Why should it be, he thought, that only two people should get to break the wishbone every year?

If this little annual injustice has occurred to other people before, Ahroni was the first person to do anything about it. Over the next few years, he began making plastic models of wishbones, trying to replicate the sound and feel of a genuine wishbone.

In 2004, he launched Lucky Break Wishbone Corporation. Lucky Break sells the synthetic wishbones from its website. They even offer wishbones with custom designs and corporate imprints.

Talk about a niche market. But Ahroni’s bizarre little business is doing surprisingly well. The company makes over 30,000 wishbones every day, and annual sales are over 2.5 million dollars.

Since I’ve decided to let my moot-wishbone sit forever, unbroken, on the shelf, I’ve taken it upon myself to order an entire crate of plastic wishbones from Lucky Break. Just in case. Now if I could only find more people willing to wish for my own well-being…

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