Superstitious? Read On

Oh nice.  As if 2009 doesn’t have enough quite enough depressing news about the crashing economy, the Packer season and more snow in the forecast.  How about an increased chance of something bad happening?  Of course, only if you are superstitious.  Last Friday was the first of three “Friday The 13th’s” for this year.  The calendar has lined up such that February, March and November all have the same dates and days of week.  The first of the month falls on Sunday and the 13th falls on Friday.  Evidently this happens in non leap years when January 1 falls on a Thursday.  (Who knew?) It only happens about every 11 years according to Thomas Fernsler, a math specialist at the University Of Delaware.  Tom has been studying the number 13 for more than 20 years.  For some, 13 is lucky.  Just last Friday (the 13th and the day before Valentine’s Day) several couples tied the knot at City Hall.  They were mostly celebrating Valentines Day, but the fact they were ACTUALLY getting married on Friday, the 13th didn’t seem to bother them at all!  Woodrow Wilson considered 13 his lucky number.  He went to Normandy, France on Friday, December 13, 1918 for peace talks.  He did return with a Treaty, but he couldn’t get Congress to sign it.  So much for his lucky number then.  Remember the Peanuts cartoon where Lucy counsels Charlie Brown about his fears?  Charlie drops a nickel in her soup can for advice and she tells him he might have a fear of the number 13….it’s Triskaidekaphobia.  Fear of “Friday The 13th” is Paraskavedekatriaphobia.  I’m not even going to try to pronounce it. Other notes about the number 13 and Friday the 13th include most hospitals don’t have a room #13.  90% of American skyscrapers have no 13th floor.  The U.S. Navy will not launch a ship on Friday the 13th.  Up to 15% of Americans take Friday, the 13th into account when making plans and Friday the 13th also accounts for for an estimated $750 million in lost business for the superstitious Amercans who stay home on that day. 

So…it’s one down and two to go for this year when it comes to Friday, the 13th.  Good luck.  Sally Severson


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