Are you calling in sick today? Have you been running across streets to avoid crossing the path of a black cat? Are you trying to avoid driving at all costs or sticking to toast and water for lunch for fear of the stomach flu? Perhaps you aren’t alone. This Friday that also happens to be day number thirteen on the calendar is one of the spookiest days of the year (sorry Halloween). Across generations and cultures, people seem to be hyperaware about their well-being and coincidentally, their mortality. Does anyone know why?
Apparently, not really. Legend has it that Friday the 13th has been getting a bad rap since thousands of years back. Some like to attribute it to Eve (how surprising) while others date it to 1780 B.C. because of some footnote in the Code of Hammurabi. Needless to say, this day laden with superstition has no real stake in actual history. Again, not surprising. It is interesting, though, that statistics show many people do go out of their way to avoid potentially dangerous activities. Ironically, fewer accidents happen on what should be the unluckiest day of the year.
If a somewhat random Friday can evoke irrational timidity in typically rational people, I wonder what that impulse says about our society’s need for control over our lives and deaths. At least in American culture, we hustle most of the year to put money in the bank, get food on the table, and hopefully find the time to connect with our loved ones. If we only get one or two days out of the entire year to take a closer (and most likely paranoid) look at the preciousness of our lives, then heck, I guess that’s better than nothing.
- Friday The 13th: 13 Things To Know About The Unluckiest Of Days (ibtimes.com)
- Fear factor: It’s Friday the 13th again (content.usatoday.com)