Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Friday the 13th! (really!)

Friday the 13th! One of my most favorite days!

And why not? My husband was born on a rainy, stormy, Friday the 13th. That gives me all the reason I need to look forward and celebrate each TGIF day that bears this most elegant of numbers.

Beginning of slight digression:
Why elegant, you may ask? Well, to begin with, there's the contrasting visual form of the number "13": a straight line, unbending, paired with such lovely curves. And then, "1" is such an interesting number, mathematically speaking: not prime, not composite, in a class by itself. As for "3" ... it's the first ODD prime number. And think of all the things that come in threes in this world. I won't enumerate (ha! little joke), but will let you contemplate and come up with examples, if you wish.
End of slight digression

I find superstitions, in general, fascinating and like to take a contrarian view, when safety isn't involved. For instance, walk beneath a ladder? Nooo thank you, but not for superstition's sake. (I'm editing a safety manual for the nonce, and believe me, I could obsess for a long time here about the safety aspects of ladders and scaffolds.) Same goes for breaking a mirror, which can lead to nasty slivers in the feet if it happens in the bathroom. But equating these to bad luck? Bad luck happens randomly, just as good luck does. At least, that's how I look at it.

I've nothing against black cats—those little bits of living shadow that can be friendly, stand-offish, or downright nasty (as can cats of any other color). As for cracks in the sidewalks? I recall as a young child regarding the cracks in the sidewalks quite fondly. I tried to mentally shape them into recognizable shapes and pictures, and, after school, traveled the continuous straight-line crack between sidewalk paving squares to home.

To keep this on topic (sort of), here are some Victorian superstitions I found at the Friends of Oak Grove Cemetery site.

Large drops of rain warn that there has just been a death.

Having only red and white flowers together in a vase (especially in hospital) means a death will soon follow.

Dropping an umbrella on the floor or opening one in the house means that there will be a murder in the house.

A diamond-shaped fold in clean linen portends death.

... And here are two more (not necessarily Victorian) from a superstition-a-day calendar I have lying around:

Prevent nosebleeds by tying a pure lead ball on a ribbon around your neck, so that it rests in the hollow of your collarbones. If someone already has a nosebleed, cure it by putting a key down their back.

Don't knit socks for a loved one, as wearing them will make that person walk away from you.
As a writer of fiction, I figure all this is fair game for scheming, plotting, and character development.

What about you? Do you have some favorite/interesting/unusual superstitions to share?


Dani said...

Boy, that last sock superstition isn't working for me thank goodness! In fact, everyone keeps walking back to me. I always say a man's heart isn't through his stomach, but through his soles. Hehe.

Eric Maisel would call all this blather about superstition "supernatural enthusiasms". Snort. Now there's a fun expression.


Ann Parker said...

Hi Dani! I thought of you when I came across the "socks" superstition. ;-) "Supernatural enthusiasms"... I like that!

Camille Minichino said...

Interesting reference to Eric, Dani. I wonder -- does all of superstition relate to religion?