Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Beyond 13

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?


Linda O. Johnston said...

I've always believed that the number 13 is lucky for me, Camille, contrary to popular belief by most people. I'm also an inveterate knocker-on-wood when I say something that I fear will challenge the universe to make the opposite of my statement come true. Superstitions are fascinating!

Camille Minichino said...

I like 13 also, Linda. And I have been known to at least look for wood at times like that!

Betty Hechtman said...

I admit to knocking on wood on occasion. As for avoiding cracks in the sidewalk - after triping over one and landing on my knees with a bag of dog do in one hand and my dogs leash in the other, I began to think it might be a good idea to step over them.

BTW, I got up without injury and continued on my way, so maybe knocking on concrete has the same effect as knocking on wood.

Camille Minichino said...

Whoa, I'm looking down from now on, Betty!

Monica Ferris said...

If I let myself, I'd be superstitious about everything. I'm wary of 13, even though nothing bad has ever happened to me on that date. On the other hand, there was Apollo 13 . . .

Camille Minichino said...

I did think of mentioning Apollo 13!
But the 13th is also the feast of St. Anthony, my favorite.