Today is Friday, the thirteenth day of November. Everyone knows that thirteen is an unlucky number, right? Did you know that any month's 13th day will fall on a Friday if the month starts on a Sunday? That's all it is.
It used to be such a mystery to me as a young person and my fellow students and I carried on the superstitious nature of this phenomenon. Because it didn't happen every month, we enjoyed the sensation of power that this unique day held to bring bad luck to anyone who wasn't careful.
Worse than stepping on a crack in the sidewalk or walking under a ladder! In a way, this superstition perpetuated a fear that was a tickler and a teaser so much so that when I got through the day without a major mishap I then knew I was lucky. There is a name for the fear of Friday the thirteenth: Paraskevidekatriaphobia. Betcha can't say that three times quickly.
I wasn't lucky enough to waltz through each and every Friday the thirteenth unscathed. The day I broke my finger playing volleyball at school was a Friday the thirteenth. The day my old clunker car died permanently was a Friday the thirteenth. The day a girl in my brother's class hit him in the head with her square wooden purse and split his head open was a Friday the thirteenth. I wasn't injured but she was when I found her and I was suspended from school for the unprovoked attack. Of course the way I looked at it was I just defending my brother.
According to experts it's the most widespread superstition in the United States today. Have you ever seen a thirteenth floor in a hotel? Some people refuse to go to work on Friday the 13th; some won't eat in restaurants; many wouldn't think of setting a wedding on the date.
How many Americans actually suffer from this condition? According to Dr. Donald Dossey, a psychotherapist specializing in the treatment of phobias, the figure may be as high as 21 million. If he's right, at least eight percent of Americans are still in the grips of a very old superstition.
I have been set free from the fears that have inhabited my life throughout my childhood. This Friday is just another weekday. I am no longer held captive by a tradition not based in fact.
So enjoy your Friday everyone. Oh, and good luck!