Friday, January 13, 2006

Friday the 13th

Are you superstitious? If you are, and even if you are not, I am sure you are aware that today is Friday the 13th. Many people believe that the day is unlucky. Many common superstitions relate to the number 13, and many people live with, shall we say, "respect" for those superstitions.

Here are some ways that fear of the number 13 is demonstrated.

  • More than 80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor.
  • Many airports skip the 13th gate.
  • Airplanes have no 13th aisle.
  • Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.
  • Italians omit the number 13 from their national lottery.
  • On streets in Florence, Italy, the house between number 12 and 14 is addressed as 12 and a half.
  • Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue
  • In France, socialites known as the quatorziens (fourteeners) once made themselves available as 14th guests to keep a dinner party from an unlucky fate.
  • Many triskaidekaphobes, as those who fear the unlucky integer are known, point to the ill-fated mission to the moon, Apollo 13.
  • If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck . Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names.

I have at least 6 reasons to disbelieve in the malevolence of the number 13.

  1. My full given name, as listed on my birth certificate, contains 13 letters; and I don't suppose I have "the devil's luck" (whatever that means).
  2. Our daughter's common birthname (her called first name along with her maiden surname) contains 13 letters.
  3. Our oldest grandson's common called name likewise contains the feared number of letters.
  4. Our daughter-in-law (whom I love like a daughter, and whose common birthname also contains 13 letters) was born on the 13th of January - today! Happy Birthday, DIL!
  5. Our Son-in-law (whom I love like a son) was born on the 13th of September.
  6. Our oldest granddaughter just had her 13th birthday. Happy birthday, Rae!

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