I read somewhere that a quarter of all Americans are superstitious about something, and if you fall into that category, tomorrow is your day of days, especially if you suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia. That’s what psychiatrists call the fear of Friday (uh-oh) the 13th.
Since Fridays are normally a TGIF kind of thing, I guess the attachment of “13” makes it the opposite. Go figure.
For some reason that one number is supposed to be bad, since some airplanes don’t have a thirteenth row and some elevators don’t have a thirteenth floor button. There was, in fact, a 1960s psychedelic band called the 13th Floor Elevators who faded into obscurity rather quickly. I can’t think of any songs by them and they never really had a hit record, but they have a snappy name. But that was the sixties for you, when you had groups coming up with names such as Strawberry Alarm Clock, Moby Grape, The Peanut Butter Conspiracy, The Chocolate Watchband, Ultimate Spinach and The Electric Prunes. Do you sense a food theme here?
But I digress.
This Friday plus 13 superstition goes way back, but it really got going in 1907 when Thomas W. Lawson wrote a novel called Friday, the Thirteenth. It had nothing to do with the string of slasher movies bearing that title, but it did become a bestseller, and helped spread the fear about the unluckiest date around.
With that in mind, here are a couple of things to remember as you wake up tomorrow:
Avoid the barbershop. The superstitious say getting your haircut on Friday the thirteenth will result in the death of a family member. For that matter, avoid combing your hair altogether because they say if a bird uses your fallen locks to build a nest, you might go bald.
Also, avoid putting new shoes on the table (don’t ask).
And here’s a tricky one: Try to avoid giving birth. Case in point: Steve Buscemi was born on a Friday the thirteenth.
But if all that is not enough for you to worry about, coming up this Sunday is National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day. It’s when you really don’t want to find out what’s been sealed up in that Gladware for later consumption way in the back. You know, back there behind the mayonnaise and grape jelly and pickle jars, back where the sweet corn ain’t sweet anymore.
Back there is where you find some dried out, mold covered nasty that you remove and dispose of at arm’s length. And I don’t even want to check out that carton of milk. I’m thinking this is one of those times when your face mask might serve double duty.
They say when in doubt throw it out. Good luck on that.
Otherwise, as sure as the sun will set tonight and rise again tomorrow, it looks like my back porch sittin’ days are coming to an end for this year. These November winds are getting all antsy for winter and soon my sittin’ will be over by the woodstove. My home office, in other words.
Pardon my rambling, but for the last few months I’ve been overdosed on TMI - Too Much Information - but at least the national media’s obsession with the recent election has been dialing down. Maybe.
Of course, we’re still not without information and we keep up with the latest pandemic figues, but the problem is what’s sneaking in between. Facebook, I’m looking at you. Those unrelated links with catchy headlines like “You Won’t Believe What This Person Did,” or “Foods to Never To Eat Again.”
Anyway, something turned up being shared around last weekend ballyhooing – correctly, I might add – the state in which we live. You’ve no doubt seen other such lists and rankings of, you know, how New Mexico is the best state for this or that, and the reasons we call it the Land of Enchantment.
Commonly on these lists are things like green chile, scenic wonders, roadrunners, Billy the Kid, Geronimo, hot air balloons, and the return of the sandhill cranes.
Our climate is always in there, too, and particularly the dearth of devastating events like tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes. Personally, those two are bragging rights I have over family members back east, particularly my brother who I begged to move here from Cincinnati but instead, he and his wife moved to Florida, the so-called Sunshine State. They may not experience the ofttimes bone-chilling winds that are encroaching on us this month, but their summers are brutal and frankly, the beach can burn your bare feet. And one more thing, we have the coolest state flag in the whole U.S.A.
OK, I’ll get off my high horse about New Mexico. In the meantime, I’ll be sittin’ on my windy pandemic porch perch trying to pronounce paraskavedekatriaphobia.