I do NOT believe the act of washing a car will make it rain. Well, actually, maybe it will, but as everyone knows, that's due to science, not superstition... Murphy's law and all that. (However, if anyone has a suggestion as to how to make it stop raining, I'd be much obliged.)
I say NO to the notion that breaking a mirror will bring seven years' bad luck. True, I have a peculiar propensity for avoiding mirrors as much as possible, but that has nothing to do with a fear of breaking them. I just don't wanta give that old-gray-mare-who-ain't-what-she-used-to-be who stares back at me the satisfaction. Why let that old broad spoil an otherwise great day?
I do NOT believe garlic will keep away vampires and evil spirits; I just happen to LIKE eating it. I also enjoy eating an apple every day, and it has absolutely nothing to do with that silly old saying about keeping the doctor away. Sure, I pick up pennies when I spot them lying on the ground, but it has nothing to do with that old Find a penny, pick it up, and all the day you'll have good luck. Nothing at all. I'm simply
We do NOT have any lucky horseshoes hanging in our house, but if we did, I'd be sure they were hanging properly. You know, so it looks like the letter U. And that has nothing to do with that blather about not letting the luck run out. They simply... look better... that way.
Oh, I could go on and on, like about how unlucky it's supposed to be to walk under a ladder, to rock an empty rocking chair, to open an umbrella in the house, or for a black cat to cross your path. (Like Groucho Marx said, A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.) But I won't. Instead, we're gonna concentrate on Friday the thirteenth. Ever wonder why that date makes some superstitious people fairly tremble in fear? Well, then, you've come to the right place. I'm gonna tell ya.
The following post originally appeared on May 13, 2011... a Friday the 13th, of course, and it had the original title of Friggatriskaidekaphobia, Anyone? In the early years of this blog, I posted much more frequently than I do now, and every Friday, I included what I called weirdest news stories of the week. Tell ya what, even though those stories are more than four years old now, they're still kinda funny, so I'm going to leave them in the post, too.
Thought for the day: Luck is the idol of the idle.
Unlucky Friday + Unlucky Thirteen = Unluckier Friday
The word superstition means a belief or practice resulting from ignorance and fear of the unknown, a trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation. Although I have no statistics to back me up, I'll hazard a guess that there are far more superstitious males than females. I mean, really, have you ever heard of a woman refusing to change her lucky drawers or socks? No, of course not. Although I will concede that this peculiar attachment to one's dirty socks and undies and by extension, one's aversion to donning clean ones, may in fact be rooted in something entirely different than a belief in their ability to prolong a streak of good luck. For any gentlemen with a proclivity to wear said scuzzy skivvies, be forewarned: No matter how much luck you believe those skivvies may bring you in games of chance or sport, I double dog guarantee you that wearing them will NOT lead to any semblance of luck with the ladies.
And why FRIDAYS, for goodness sake?
And why the number THIRTEEN?
Since this is the only Friday the 13th we'll be encountering this calendar year, I thought today would be the perfect time to investigate.
WHY FRIDAY : In ancient Rome, Friday was the designated day for executions, which certainly ended a streak of good luck for anyone whacked by the authorities, whether he was wearing his lucky bowling shirt or not. Witches' covens allegedly gather on Fridays, too, and in the Middle Ages, Friday was actually dubbed "Witches' Sabbath". The Good Friday crucifixion of Christ casts the greatest stigma on the day for Christians, but other Biblical events are also attributed to Friday: the day Eve gave Adam the apple, the day they were expelled from Eden, the day God struck the Tower of Babel, and the day Solomon's Temple was destroyed.
Some of the strange superstitions regarding Friday are:
- Clothing made on a Friday will never fit properly.
- Visiting a doctor on a Friday will lead to no good news.
- Changing bedclothes on a Friday will lead to nightmares.
- Marrying or moving on a Friday will come to a bad end.
- Cutting your nails on a Friday will lead to sorrow.
- Receiving bad news on a Friday will cause more wrinkles than receiving them on any other day of the week.
- Starting a trip on a Friday will lead to misfortune.
- Ships that set sail on a Friday are doomed to suffer bad luck.
About a hundred years ago, to disprove the superstition about ships, the Brits commissioned H.M.S. Friday. The crew was selected on a Friday, the keel was set on a Friday, the ship was launched on a Friday, and the man chosen to captain the ship was even named Friday. The ship set sail on its maiden voyage on a Friday, too. And was never heard from again.
WHY THIRTEEN: You're probably more familiar with this word: triskaidekaphobia. That's the fear of the number thirteen, and it's no secret that many buildings don't acknowledge a thirteenth floor, and many cities opt to skip Thirteenth Street. But, WHY?
For one thing, a witch's coven has thirteen members. There are also thirteen steps leading to the gallows, and thirteen knots in a hangman's noose. The blade of a guillotine falls thirteen feet, and at her trial, Lizzie Borden spoke thirteen words. There were thirteen people at the Last Supper, and the thirteenth card in a deck of tarot cards? Death.
Apollo 13, the thirteenth mission to be launched from pad #39, (13 X 3) was aborted after an explosion in the fuel cell of the service module, after leaving the launching pad at 13:13 CST. The date? April thirteenth.
One theory about the root of triskaidekaphobia lays it at the feet of ancient man. It claims that when man was first learning to count, he counted on ten fingers and two feet, so anything beyond twelve was considered frightening and mysterious. On the other hand, what I find mysterious is why he didn't count on his ten toes, too. It's highly possible that he refused to take off his lucky socks.
Would you believe the number thirteen was once considered lucky? For one thing, some early religions considered the thirteenth step to be the one souls take to enter the eternal glory of the afterlife. And in the prehistoric goddess-worshiping cultures, the number thirteen represented femininity, and corresponded to the number of lunar (and menstrual) cycles in a year. The Earth Mother of Laussel, an ancient carving found in France, depicts a female holding a crescent-shaped horn with, you guessed it, thirteen notches in it. Later, when society became male-dominated and the solar calendar replaced the lunar one, twelve became the "perfect" number, replacing the "imperfect" thirteen.
So, there ya have it. Now you know a little bit about the superstitions associated with Friday the thirteenth. Me? I still prefer the TGIF approach.
How about you? Do you have any superstitions or lucky socks?
OK, time for (a drum roll, if you will ...) the
WEIRDEST NEWS STORIES OF THE WEEK
** In New York, a 21-year-old happened to be riding in a car that was pulled over by the police. As soon as the car stopped, the young man immediately took off running, and jumped into the Hudson River. He was able to latch onto a branch 250 feet downstream, where he waited for the police to rescue him from the fifty degree water. Know why he ran? It seems that the shivering young man thought there was a warrant out for his arrest. There wasn't. Sounds to me like there should have been.
** When two female investigators in Vienna, Austria began questioning his client, a lawyer (ahem) showed his briefs. The attorney dropped his trousers and then perched on a desk in his tightie whities with his back to the women. The client is suspected of a sex crime, but now the lawyer is being investigated, as well. (Maybe they were his lucky shorts?)
** After three late-night escape attempts, a German shepherd named Jack finally escaped from an Oregon veterinarian's office by pulling his kennel open, tripping the dead bolt on the clinic's back door and pulling down the handle to get outside. In the process, Jack tripped three motion detectors and tore open four bags of dog food. The vet said he was "impressed" with Jack's impressive recovery from the flu. Me? I wonder if that dog's last name was Bauer.
|Bauer... Jack Bauer. [morguefile]|
Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.