Friday, August 13, 2010

Rant #311: Friday the 13th, The Day

Today is Friday the 13th, the only Friday the 13th we have on the calendar this year.

Are you scared? Are you worried about what catastrophe can happen today?

I'm not. I am not a superstitious person, so I don't believe the day is cursed.

But lots of people do.

Today is the day that if anything goes wrong--much like it can on any day of the week or any date--some people will say, "Well, it happened on Friday the 13th."

The date is so permanently ingrained into our culture that an entire movie franchise--the Friday the 13th movies--annually scare us to the box office in droves.

The number 13 is considered to be bad luck by some people. Even some buildings skip naming their 13th floor the 13th floor, either bypassing it to 14 or using a different number scheme. Where I grew up, the first floor was actually the "ground" floor, and the top floor was the 12th floor. So even though the building had 13 floors, only 12 were acknowledged.

About the only place that I can think of that the number 13 is celebrated is in the Jewish religion, where, when a boy reaches his 13th birthday, he has his bar mitzvah. However, although this is changing, girls have their bat mitzvah when they are 12.

I think a lot of the hysteria revolving around the number 13 has to do with the number that precedes it, number 12. That number is such a "perfect" number--it is perfectly divisible by one, two, three, four, six and by itself--that it stands alone.

You add one more to it, and you get 13. It's a number that is kind of out of sync with everything.

Talking about being out of sync, when you reach 13, you become a teenager. But you are sort of in between being a teenager and being a kid, so being 13 still puts you in a dubious spot.

I remember one bad Friday the 13th experience at work, where someone I worked with got fired on that day a few years back. It ended up being a lucky break for him, because, out of necessity, he went into another line of work, and has been successful at it. If he didn't lost his job on that day, he wouldn't have ventured into something else, so in essence, Friday the 13th was a lucky day for him.

So, have a good day today. If things go wrong, don't blame it on the day, blame it on coincidence. The same thing can happen on the 14th, the 12th, the 28th or even the 1st ...

I guess ...

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