Friday, August 13, 2010

Triskaidekaphobia 2: The Beginning

The last time I talked about Friday the 13th, it was all about the the increasingly bad movie franchise that started with Sean S. Cunningham's 1980 original. And from looking at some of my blog links below, lots of other folks are doing the same, today.

But tonight, I'm more interested in how the whole Bad Luck thing associated with today's date started. And in superstition, in general.

"Superstition' can be defined in two ways (via):

1 a : a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation b : an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition
2 : a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary

Some say the fear of the number 13 is a result of Judas' betrayal of Jesus at Gethsemane (Judas being the 13th person in attendance). Others say it goes back even further to Norse mythology in a tale about a dinner in which Loki, the god of mischief, was the uninvited 13th guest at a dinner in Valhalla, where he killed Balder the Good with a holly spear, resulting in a darkness which enveloped the world. Numerologists will tell you that 13 is the number that upsets the perfect balance of the number 12 (12 months; 12 signs of the zodiac; 12 labors of Hercules; 12 ribs; 12 jurors... the list goes on and on).

Of course, superstition itself goes as far back as Man's origins, when every misunderstood natural phenomenon was ascribed to gods, demons and/or other assorted supernatural beings. Today, the list of superstitions seems endless and varies from country to country. We all know that walking under a ladder is bad luck, as is stepping on a crack; breaking a mirror; crossing paths with a black cat, etc. Conversely, carrying a rabbit's foot, rubbing the Buddha's belly or finding a four-leaf clover are all considered good luck charms.

As for yours truly, Uncle P doesn't really believe in luck, good or bad. In fact, Uncle P doesn't really believe in much that he can't see, feel, hear, smell or taste (and even then I know the senses can be fooled). Still, I'd like to think I have an open mind. Just because I've never seen a ghost doesn't mean they don't exist. I've never seen the Blarney Stone, but I know it exists (I also know that while another superstition says that kissing it is supposed to give one the 'gift of gab,' kissing it is also the germiest thing one can do while on vacation).

Yes, I refrain from saying the name of the 'Scottish Play' in a theatre, though only to mollify my fellow thespians who choose to believe that doing so will bring disaster to whatever production one happens to be working on at the time. But I don't worry about walking under ladders, breaking mirrors, steeping on cracks or crossing paths with black cats. Nor should you...

Ironically, I got a dose of Friday the 13th while in the midst of writing this post in teh form of a virus attack, resulting in a 2 1/2 hour phone call to Pakistan, where a very helpful HP support technician was finally able to remove the virus remotely, which is why this post didn't show up until Saturday. I'm still rather tired, but glad to be back. Have a good weekend.

More, anon.

1 comment:

Stephen said...

I laugh in the face of Friday 13th & I walk under ladders & seek out black cats to cross paths... but I would never mention the Scottish Play or whistle in the dressing room. you just don't fuck around with that stuff.