Friday the 13th 02/13/2009

Well, well, well, if it isn't Friday the 13th again.  I usually don't realize that it's coming until the day before, or usually the day of.  I never did understand why people seemed to be so afraid of the day, or even of the number 13.  They even have a term for fear of this day: paraskavedekatriaphobia.  Try saying that fast!  Perhaps I don't get it because I'm not a superstitious person - I'd gladly stay on the 13th floor of a hotel or work on the 13th level of an office building.  I love it when black cats (or any cats, really) cross my path and I don't mind if a mirror cracks.  I'll even air out my umbrellas inside - *gasp*!

It's interesting to me how pervasive some of these superstitions can get - there are countless cases of numbering where the 13th floor, room, or even stable is skipped over entirely.  It's borderline paranoia.  Come on, it's not like there isn't a thirteenth; you just haven't named it such (this then begs the metaphysical debate about what numbers are and if they even exist - but I digress).  Apparently, all you need to avoid this "unlucky" number is to not see it.  A similar superstition surrounds the number 4 in Asian culture, which stems from the similarity in sound that it has with "death."  The aversion for four is so great that you can even get cheaper cell phone numbers and license plates if there is a 4 contained in it.

Now I'm not one for superstition, but I do enjoy little charms and trinkets that purportedly bring about good fortune!  I see no need to buy into the fearful beliefs that the negative superstitions promote.  It's all too easily a self-fulfilling prophecy: you're so afraid of something bad happening because of that black cat crossing your path that you get distracted while obsessing over it and get into an accident!  Though I may not believe in these mythical beliefs, seeing a four-leaf clover or finding a penny heads up on the ground still brings a smile to my face and optimism to my heart.  Is that so bad?

Today is three of the Friday the 13ths we are going to have in 2009 (and that's the most you can ever have in a year).  Ironically, the 13th of a month has a slightly higher of occurrence as a Friday than any other day of the week!  Check out the Wikipedia article on it (look at the last chart on the occurrence section).  So if you're the superstitious type, hold on to your hats, it's going to be quite a year.