Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Do you have Triskaidekaphobia? I didn't know until I looked it up: fear of the number 13. Silly, isn't it? But sometimes we are.
A dear friend recently upgraded her entertainment system to include a special sports package. She's a (bleep) Red Sox (bleep) fan, as in FANatic. (The bleeps are because the (bleep) Sox (bleep) are anathema to me. See my article "The Boston Braves" on my website for an explanation.)
But I digress. It seems her team has been on a losing streak since she starting watching games on this new service.
Uh-oh, it's all her fault! A pox on her new system and those who talked her into it.
It's superstitious behavior at its best.
Does my friend seriously believe that her personal choices have a direct effect on whether a certain team wins or loses? Whether it rains or shines? Of course not. She's an experienced administrator, a watercolor artist, an accomplished seamstress, and entrepreneur.
She's not the only intelligent adult to respond this way to a world that often seems to run on a whim. Some of us won't take the chance that our lowly presence in the universe doesn't matter in the scheme of things, that crossing our fingers will not influence the outcome of the Superbowl.
However silly we know it to be, we hold to the idea that following a certain routine will ensure that the universe will … something … or that changing a routine will result in disaster.
Superstition seems to go along with sports that way, and sometimes with religion.
Here's my little secret: I keep a tiny relic of a saint in my wallet.
Here's the strange part: a couple of years ago, my purse was stolen from the restroom of a library where I was speaking. (It pained me to think a reader would do that.)
My purse was eventually found in a trash container. My wallet was still in it, empty of every bill, every cent, and every card.
But the little relic was still there in the coin purse!
A superstitious thief? You bet.
Do you have any superstitions? Maybe the old ones – cracks on the sidewalk, ladders, black cats – or do you have some of your own, certain rituals and superstitions that get you through tricky times?