Today is Friday the 13th, one of my favorite days of the year. Of course, this is only the second of three occurrences of the day this year. Only four times in the 28 year solar cycle will we get three Friday the 13ths in the same year, and this is the only one of those four times when it falls thrice in a six month span. It won’t happen again until 2040!
Thanks to the phenomenon that is triskaidekaphobia (and the folks who brought you all of those Jason Voorhees movies), Friday the 13th gets a bad rap. Thirteen happens to be my favorite number, and like a lot of people, it has to do with the fact that I was born on the 13th. In fact, I’ll turn another year older the next time Friday the 13th rolls around in three months.
Because of my fascination with the number 13, many people think I’m superstitious, just in an opposite way from most people. Nothing could be further from the truth. Favoring the number 13 doesn’t make that my lucky number anymore than being a creature of habit makes me some OCD freak (Yeah, I get that a lot too). People who are superstitious believe that good or bad things will happen based on certain events that have absolutely nothing to do with the outcome at hand. Wearing a certain shirt isn’t going to make my team win or lose, getting a Bingo card with 7 and 11 in the corners isn’t going to make it any more or less likely I’m going to win or lose, and wearing my lucky underwear isn’t going to make it any more likely that I’m going to have a great day…
The truth is, I’m a big believer in the complete and utter randomness of the universe. I hate when things are contrived or manipulated, and it bugs me to no end when people see unusual patterns in the outcomes of life as lucky or unlucky streaks. Casino gambers are some of the worst violators of this. If you don’t believe me, sit down at a blackjack table and start making all kinds of unconventional hits and stays, and see how irritated the other players start to get. The cards were perfectly lined up their way, but you went and RUINED it by hitting on 19! You’ve messed up the entire shoe now!
Back in the late 90’s, me and a few other relatives would meet out at my Grandma’s house every Friday evening to play a game we called blitz. When my aunt’s boyfriend would get on a bad run early on, he’d sometimes resort to reaching out to the pile of cards after a round was finished and cutting the deck. “There!” he would say, “I’ve just changed my luck for the entire night!” That’s true in the sense that the outcome of every game played after that (as well as every game ever played with that deck of cards in the future) was just altered. But there is no way of telling if that “luck” was changed for the better or not. In his case, most often it wasn’t… but that didn’t keep him from continually trying. How the cards are going to fall is completely random, regardless of whether their playing order has been manipulated or not, and there’s no way of telling how that altered outcome is going to affect you or not.
Oops, that’s right, Biskit, we were. Biskit is my other cat, an all black kitty I adopted from the vet’s office a few days after I had to put my beloved Spilly down last year. I like the idea of having a black cat around, as it’s kind of a way to thumb my nose at the superstitious morons out there who think they bring bad luck. I’ve noticed that prejudice against ebony felines is even present in the advertising world. Next time you look through some ads, or go to a store and check out all the cat products, count how many black cats you see. Unless you happen to be shopping for batteries, you’ll be lucky…. er, hard-pressed to find even one black cat anywhere.
So quit worrying about things you honestly have no control over, and enjoy this day just like the other 363 non-Friday the 13th this year has to offer. Quit looking out for sidewalk cracks, don’t worry about walking under ladders, and believe me, if breaking a mirror brought 7 years bad luck, I’d have several millenniums of horrible karma built up after all my years working in a place that sells mirrors in crummy packaging.