Mockery and sarcasm take over my filter whenever Friday the 13th pops up. I’ve never been a superstitious person which is odd considering where I grew up at and the fact that I’m a creative person.
I’ve been told that creativity breeds superstition like a horny alley cat that can’t get enough. Actors, artists, musicians, writers, etc. they all seem to have their superstitious side, but me…
Nope…not an inkling of superstition. An example here is the fact when I woke up this morning I didn’t have a bloody clue that it was the 13th. Yeah, I knew it was Friday, but not a clue as to the actual thirteenth part. My mother on the other hand was one of the most superstitious people I’ve ever known — not to speak ill of the dead. Of course growing up in the backwoods of the Ozark Mountains might have had a great deal to do with it.
The thirteenth thing gave her the wiggins or to quote a popular saying with the hill folk,
“Goose just walked over my grave.” As a child that made my eyebrows raise somewhere to the top of my head. Exactly how can a goose walk over your grave when its obvious you’re not dead? Okay, so logic need not apply when superstition is involved.
One image that has stuck with me for decades goes to show that some folks just need to get a grip. I was probably around ten or eleven when one summer day as my mother is cleaning the house a sparrow got into our house. Now that’s not something that happens often, but it does happen on occasion. I’m pretty damned sure my mom had the screen door propped open because she was sweeping the floors. Let’s just say that poor sparrow regretted the wrong turn it made in Albuquerque.
The next thing I knew my mother had lost her mind; running, broom swinging, and squawking (both the sparrow and my mom) ensued. My poor dad had a moment when he might have believed the Apocalypse had started. When he realized my mother was trying to chase a bird from the house, he rolled his eyes, and told her to stop acting a fool. After much cursing and hollering, my mother backed off and my dad rescued the poor bird from my mother and headed outside.
Later I discovered that my mother believed that if a bird flew into the house it was an omen of death. I thought it was just more of my mom being nutty, but I also learned that a great number of hill folk believed the same. Being a smart ass kid I figured that it could mean death if they all reacted the way my mother had. I thought she was going to have a heart attack.
I forgot about that entire incident until one Saturday morning I was woke by a tenant shrieking and beating at my door at six am. She was hysterical; wailing, gasping for air, and still in her pajamas. Being a logical person my first thought was that someone had tried to break in her apartment. Nope. She finally calmed enough for me to discover there was a bird in her apartment. When I headed out with the broom her eyes bugged out of her head and she asked me what the hell I was doing. Getting the damn bird out was my answer. Of course it turned out to be a bat instead of a bird and I’m not that stupid. Animal Control received a call.
Okay so what does this have to do with Friday the 13th? Well, both are superstitions that seem to have no logical basis. Try telling that to the numerous people though that feel the chill of that damn goose walking over their grave. Some might say the same about my own beliefs. I believe in spirits, angels, and even the occasional omen. So who am I to judge? I don’t judge. I just wonder about the grip these things can have on people’s lives.
One of those people was a boss of mine years ago. In her case the superstition had become incapacitating, even if she didn’t realize it. Let’s call her Bea. Bea was an intelligent, friendly person who was a damn good boss, but when it came to Friday the 13th (cue ominous music) she turned into a terrified nelly. At the beginning of each year she would check for the Fridays that started with thirteen and schedule them as vacation days. She’d make sure that she had a full refrigerator, plenty of cigarettes, and no need whatsoever to leave her house.
How an intelligent college educated woman could become so terrified that she wouldn’t leave her own home was a mystery to me. I understand growing up in an environment where you have experiences of the paranormal variety, but even then you question if what you see is real. To believe so completely in something without having a reason; logical or otherwise makes no sense to me at least.
I’ve never feared the 13th — Friday or otherwise. As a matter of fact I’ve never given it much thought, but then I’ve been a bit of an odd-bird my entire life. For me it’s not a matter of believing, but a matter of proof personal or scientific. If you let your fears rule your life then where does that leave you? Jumping at every shadow? Afraid to leave your home?
What kind of life is that? Not one that I want to live. So if I’m wrong and that dreaded Friday the 13th comes knocking — well that’s my problem, isn’t it? 😉