The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle

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It’s Friday and the Thirteenth

on July 13, 2012

I’ve never been a superstitious person.  Black cats don’t bother me more than any other color cat.  I’m just not a cat person.  I try not to break mirrors because I don’t want to clean up the mess.  I’m more afraid something will get dropped on my head if I walk under a ladder than I am that it will bring me bad luck.  Or that I’ll bump the thing and knock the person standing on it off.  I guess that might be unlucky.  If I spill salt why would I want to make a bigger mess by throwing some over my shoulder?  I’m a firm believer that one should look forward, not down, when walking. Stepping on cracks?  My mother should be bedridden.  Maybe I’m just too logical?  Not likely.  I just have a different set of beliefs than superstition, luck and fate.

I’ve always wondered why Friday the 13th is considered especially unlucky.  I love Fridays.  I don’t care what number they are it is still the last day of the work week.  How can that be bad in any way? Now Monday the 13th: that’s a scary concept.  I decided today to do a little research as to why when you add the day Friday to the number 13 a guy in a hockey mask comes after you.  The first thing I found out is that there is actually a name for the fear of Friday the 13th.  Who knew?  It is Paraskavedekatriaphobia. There’s another reason to not be afraid. Can you imagine having to tell someone you have that? “I have Para..ska…  Paraskav….Parask….an irrational fear of Friday the 13th.”

Okay.  So everyone knows that the number 13 is unlucky. At least the widely accepted belief is that it is.  Ever wondered why?  The most popular theory that has contributed to the hysteria over the number 13 is related to numerology (another thing in which I don’t give much credence). It  is based upon the belief that 12 is the complete number. There are 12 months in the year.  12 tribes of Israel.  Jesus had 12 disciples.12 hours on the clock. Since 12 is the complete number, the number after it, 13, is irregular.  Ok. So does that make 11 an underachiever?  Just wondering.   I’ve come to the conclusion that because there aren’t a lot of numerologists out there, somehow along the years it has just become accepted as fact that number 13 is unlucky.  Interestingly there is also the superstition that because there were 13 people at the Last Supper it is unlucky to have 13 people at a table.  I guess that makes sense. To someone.  Also interesting to note that there used to be 13 stairs into the gallows.  The French guillotine fell from 13 feet.  That’s a little creepy but was probably done because of the already accepted belief about the number 13 being unlucky.   While I might not agree that the number 13 is anything more than a number there are apparently millions of people who do.  Most tall buildings don’t have 13th floors.  Well. They do.  We just don’t call them the thirteenth floor.  Most airports don’t have a gate 13.  Well. They don’t have a gate which displays the number thirteen.  You get my drift.  It has crossed my mind that had NASA gone with that numbering system it would have been Apollo 14 that had an explosion instead of Apollo 13.  That wouldn’t have seemed nearly as freaky, huh?

Apparently the belief that Fridays are unlucky comes from a couple different places.  There is one theory that Eve tempted Adam to eat the fruit on a Friday which got them kicked out of paradise.  Interesting, but I’m wondering who figured out that was a Friday. Did they even have “Friday” then?  There is of course the widespread reference to the fact that Christ was crucified on a Friday, making the day evil.  Ok. That one makes a little more sense to me but I would interject that perhaps that should mean Friday is a day to be grateful.  Just a thought.  I also discovered that Fridays were execution days in ancient Rome.  That would make you not like the day. Because of Norse mythology still to this day it is considered bad luck to begin a ship voyage on a Friday.  Interesting.  Here’s one I liked: don’t change your sheets on Friday because you will have bad dreams.  Cool.  I don’t like doing housework on Fridays anyway. 

So did all my research change my mind about superstition?  Nope.  I  discovered that statistically there is no convincing evidence that Friday the 13th is any more unlucky than any other day.  In fact I’d say for some people the day is really lucky. Paramount Pictures, for example,  and their (what are there 112?) movies in the Friday the 13th series have made several people some major money.  Someone will have a baby today.  Happy thing!  to someone else it is payday. Yay!  See? It can’t be all bad right?   If you are a superstitious person let me help you find a bright spot for today. It’s the last time it’ll happen this year. You only have to make it through today.  As for me I’m just going to go about my every Friday business.  Well with one exception.  The local grocery store is having a “13 hour sale” today. I plan to avoid that at all costs.  Talk about scary!

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2 responses to “It’s Friday and the Thirteenth

  1. sarahlmandl says:

    My brother, #9, was born on Friday the 13th. Unlucky. I should say so! And I should have para… ska… paraskav… an irrational fear of Friday the 13th because of him.

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