I have no particular opinion or fear about thirteen or Friday or Friday the thirteenth, though I do find a lot of irony associated with the avoidance of thirteen. For example, buildings with more than 13 floors don’t call the 13th floor the 13th floor, but instead skip the number and go directly to the 14th floor or call it 12A. It’s still the 13th floor, right? So do people simply fear the number rather than the actual floor? And if they fear the number, do they refuse to buy baker’s dozens of donuts or cookies? (Though perhaps that is dating me — I don’t think I’ve come across a baker’s dozen of anything in a long time.) And if it’s the number thirteen they fear, why is only Friday the thirteeth a fearful day? I realize it’s the conjunction of fateful Friday and the ominous number that causes friggatriskaidekaphobia, but still, for those with the simpler case of triskaidekaphobia, wouldn’t any thirteenth day of the month be cause for concern?
(Interesting side note — in many Spanish speaking countries, Tuesday the thirteenth is the unlucky day, so for them, the movie Friday the Thirteenth was renamed Tuesday the Thirteenth.)
If Friday the thirteenth were really an unlucky day as more than 20 million Americans believe, to be on the safe side, shouldn’t the calendar makers follow the example of builders and call change all 13s that fall on a Friday to 14 or maybe even 12A? And speaking of calendars, our current calendar was not universally adopted in Europe until the eighteenth century. So is our current Friday the thirteenth the real Friday the thirteenth? Wouldn’t the day fall on other dates using other calendars?
Today is an especially interesting day considering that it’s exactly thirteen weeks since the last Friday the thirteenth in this year of twenty-thirteen, but I don’t know if that makes it more it a more dire day or simply a matter of curiosity.
Whether or not you believe that Friday the thirteenth is bad luck (and if you do, please forgive my levity), I hope you have a fearfully wonderful day.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.