It’s Friday the 13th. Remain calm. Everything will be fine. Probably. All superstitions aside. Because really, what are superstitions? That’s a folk thing, right?
To get to the heart of the matter, we went to Merriam-Webster, the arbiter of all things that need defining.
noun su·per·sti·tion \ ˌsü-pər-ˈsti-shən \
1a :a belief or practice resulting from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance, or a false conception of causation
b :an irrational abject attitude of mind toward the supernatural, nature, or God resulting from superstition
2 :a notion maintained despite evidence to the contrary
Even those who aren’t superstitious are usually extra careful on Friday the 13th. So in the interest of keeping everyone on the right side of bad luck and misfortunate magic, here are some common superstitions, and why you might want to avoid them.
Don’t walk under a ladder. Anyone who as ever watched the Three Stooges can pick out two reasons why walking under a ladder is a bad idea. First, because something big and painful will likely fall on your head. Second, because you will knock it over and leave someone dangling from a chandelier.
Carry a rabbit’s foot for luck. Having something lucky to warn off unlucky events is good. But maybe choose a four leaf clover or a lucky penny. It’s hard to argue that carrying a rabbit’s foot was lucky for the rabbit.
Don’t open an umbrella inside. Adults are not all that likely to do this. But it’s a good idea to instill this superstition in children. It’s a well known fact that children are dangerous with umbrellas in wide open spaces, let alone in enclosed spaces.
If you break a mirror you will have seven years bad luck. Mirrors are inanimate objects and cannot inflict seven years of bad luck on you. Especially after you’ve swept them up and put them in the dustbin. But if you break someone else’s mirror, they can definitely see to it that you have seven years of misery, particularly if they are the vindictive sort.
Don’t wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Apparently, luck protocol calls for you to get out of bed from the same side you got in. This makes sense. If you wind up on the wrong side of the bed during the night, you will be using the wrong pillow and will probably wake up with a cramp in your neck.
Bad luck comes in threes. Subscribing to this belief may make you feel better when you’ve had a couple bad turns of the dice, but really, we all know that while bad luck can come in threes, that is not guaranteed. Bad luck can com in fours. Or fives. Or twenties. Bad luck laughs at your silly rules about threes.
Don’t step on a crack or you’ll break your mother’s back. Another hard to believe superstition. Stepping on a crack doesn’t break your mother’s back. But not calling her once a week can break her heart. You know, “you never call, you never write.”
A bird in the house is a sign of death. Anything is possible, but that seems a bit overdramatic. A bird is the house is more likely a sign of an open door or window.
Crossing your fingers wards off bad luck and brings good luck. Yes…and? No dispute here, this one is always true. Bonus: it also keeps you from being struck by lightning when you tell an untruth.
Owls are bad omens. This might be true if you are a tiny mouse that lives in the woods near a hungry owl. But for most of us it’s silly, because everyone knows owls are awesome. Period.
Find a penny, pick it up and all the day you’ll have good luck. A penny won’t buy much anymore but if you are lucky enough to notice one lying on the ground, you’re a very observant person and you’re present in the moment. So chances are pretty darned good that you’re the kind of person who doesn’t count on luck but makes their own magic happen.
Carrying an ax through the house will bring bad luck. This one speaks for itself.
Never say “let’s split up gang” when you’re searching an abandoned amusement park for a mysterious bad guy. Again, no explanation necessary.
Now get out there, have fun and stay safe on this Friday the 13th.