(not) Very Superstitious!

Superstitions are ridiculous.

Somehow, someone’s random (idiotic) thoughts became guidelines for which millions of people obey on a day-to-day basis. Don’t walk under ladders. Stay away from black cats. Watch your back on Friday the 13th. After seeing an ambulance, hold your breath until you see a black dog. Really?

I used to think superstition was just something in the movies – the scary ones I’d watch on Friday the 13th with the full moon beaming in on a stray black cat. But a friend recently revealed he “has a thing” about the volume on a radio or TV being set to an odd number. This guy seems (seemed) normal, but as his explanation was spoken and he adjusted the volume in my car from 9 to 10, I realized it was no joke. He was serious! I tried to be understanding of his superstition, but couldn’t get over the fact that adjusting volumes in segments of two is completely wacked.

On another occasion, I realized superstitions aren’t taken lightly. During my last vacation I was looking to get assigned a seat on my return flight. The man offered seats in row 13 and quickly said row 19 was available if I wasn’t okay with row 13. Puzzled, I asked if 13 was an exit row. (SCORE! More leg room!) He said “no,” and added that superstitious people don’t appreciate flying in that row. Superstitious or not, waiting for five rows of passengers to maneuver a weeks worth of luggage out from under their seats usually takes just short of an hour. I took my chances in row 13 (gasp!).

After confirming my lucky 13 tickets, I tried to make myself believe something would go wrong. You know… add a little excitement to my abundant airport time. What if the plane crashed just because I was daring enough to be the first one to ever be seated (alone!) in the 13th row on an airplane? Would my checked bags get lost? Would I break my leg stepping off the airplane? Would the passenger seated in row 12 have a gas problem? Despite the effort, I just couldn’t be creeped out by the fact that I had just confirmed seats in the “no-no row.”

The deal with the number 13 is outrageous. Often times, hospitals and hotels don’t have a floor 13 because the superstitious wouldn’t dare spend an evening on the floor, let alone be on an elevator that had the possibility of stopping on the dreaded 13th floor. But even more strange than the “13” phenomenon are a few other superstitions people have. Can you believe it?

When knitting, it’s bad luck to leave a project unfinished. The intended recipient will have bad luck.

It is bad luck to kill a ladybug.

Pictures of an elephant bring luck, but only if they face a door.

Don’t step on a crack on a sidewalk or walkway.

To drop a comb while you are combing your hair is a sign of a coming disappointment.

It is bad luck to light three cigarettes with the same match.

To break a mirror means seven years bad luck.

Unless you were born in October, it’s unlucky to wear opals.

Salty soup is a sign that the cook is in love.

If you sing before seven, you will cry before eleven.

You sleep best with your head to the north and your feet to the south.

Shootin’ the Wit is a weekly column about everyday life that should never, ever be taken too seriously.

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