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Written by Lori Pankonin, The Imperial Republican   

Comfort comes with focusing on faith rather than superstition

I try not to be superstitious, however I did find myself noticing that this

month had a Friday the 13th.

In elementary school, we got to chew gum whenever Friday the 13th hit. What logic came behind that perk I wonder? Maybe the instigators wanted to turn the concept of an unlucky day into a lucky one.

It does seem, however, that after we moved into the new middle school building in fifth grade, the gum-chewing privilege was banished because there was carpet. Hmmm? Makes you wonder if they truly thought middle-school students couldn’t handle keeping gum off the floor or if it was just a good time to do away with that tradition.

Obviously, the number 13 has been given a negative reputation for bad luck. Some cities skip 13th Street and many hotels don’t have a 13th floor. Well it’s not that there’s empty sky between floors 12 and 14. It’s just that the 13th floor is marked as 14 or there’s another name for it.

I’m really not a scary-movie person, however I did allow myself to get drawn into a Friday the 13th flick decades ago. Not only was I petrified and paranoid during the whole movie, but it carried with me after it was over.

Now there are 12 Friday the 13th films and I would rather not view any others to offer any comparison or critique to the first. Obviously it’s been successful for the industry to play with people’s minds with a scary subject on an already spooky day.

I was surprised to read the other day that paraskevidekatriaphobia means fear of Friday the 13th. Imagine how much more surprised I was to later read that friggatriskaidekaphobia means fear of Friday the 13th. Just how many 23-letter words do we need to identify the condition? I did also notice that neither word is in the dictionary, nor did they just pass my computer’s spell check. So are they words or aren’t they?

We planned to venture to the mountains on Friday. Just days before leaving, I saw an article about traveling on Friday the 13th. Statistics showed that less people travel on that day to avoid bad luck. Another study showed that there were more accidents on Friday the 13th.

I found myself questioning if we really wanted to go after all. Actually it wasn’t whether we WANTED to go, but SHOULD we go?

Controversy questioned the validity of some of the studies and their rationale. More detail revealed that the study showing more accidents on the 13th had compared the number of accidents from the 6th to the 13th of the same month. The unlucky day had really no validity as evidently there are typically more accidents on any given Friday than Tuesday anyway because there are more travelers.

I’ve read that Friday the 13th tends to consistently show lower economic productivity and less stock market action. I can see how that could very well be a trend, only due to a change in behavior created from the superstition that started messing with people’s minds.

Why let yourself make decisions based on fear? I was taught at an early age to trash those chain letters immediately that threaten bad luck if you don’t send them on. Fear threatens people, making them do things that they’d prefer not to.

Ironically along with the articles I read last week, I also read a daily devotional that put me back in the right perspective. Scripture was shared that guarded against turning to myths and man-made fiction.

Had I really given hesitation to taking a trip to see friends because of some crazy idea years ago that Friday the 13th be recognized as unlucky? It truly is much more comforting to focus on my Christian faith than to be dragged into the fear of superstition!

Thank heavens we ignored the superstition. We trusted. We traveled. We had a great time. We returned safely.