AI: Superstitionbusters

Yesterday was Friday the 13th (dun dun duuuuuun). I had grand intentions of doing silly things like deliberately spilling the salt or walking under ladders, but I pretty much forgot all about it. Not being at home, I didn’t have my usual built-in bad luck charm close at hand (or foot, as it were):


(That’s Seer, by the way, a cat we acquired from a woo-ey bookstore during my brief flirtation with paganism back in college. I maintain that he is the cutest cat in all existence.)

Actually, I did cut my finger sort of badly at work yestersday…maybe there’s something to all this after all :p

Did you do anything to celebrate/mock superstitious thinking yesterday? What horrible things did or didn’t happen to you as a result?

The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear daily at 3pm ET.

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  1. I also have a black cat! And he’s not unlucky at all. And I got engaged on a Friday 13th! Definitely not unlucky.

    I always make sure to open my umbrella indoors, both for convenience (you get wet if you wait to open it outside!) and for kicks & giggles on the rare occasion I see a stranger get worked up over it.

    I guess I don’t save my superstitious mocking for Fridays 13th. It’s fun to do any day of the year!

    If I were around people who actually held that Friday 13th was unlucky I might have been ass enough to do things to deliberately make them nervous, but no one around me really cares, so I would have preaching to the choir.

  2. I’ve got a black cat and a white cat, so given your culture I’ve got the luck thing, good or bad, covered.

    I didn’t even realize yesterday was Friday the 13th, though that would explain all the Jason movies on Spike channel.

    I think I’ve started forgetting some of these woo-ey things since I’ve getton all skeptical-like.

  3. Hey that’s my leg in the picture! woohoo, when your pant-leg appears on Skepchick, that’s when you know you’ve made it :)

    Yesterday, my internet and phone (mobile phone) went dead. So logically, I wanted to know why. So upon whipping out the trusty Ouija board, I let the powers that be spell out the answer which then shocked me….The Sprint towers were down in my area.

    ……Wait, what was that? you were expecting some stupid answer? Please, we all know that before there was an “Ask Jeeves” programme on the internet, Ouija boards were used to solve all problems. It wasn’t until Hollywood fucked it up and made them out to be “ghost-channelling” devices.

  4. On the superstitious side I did celebrate my 47th revolution around the sun.

    But I think I countered that by the discussion in my 1st hour class that started with
    1. vitamins make expensive urine, then moved to
    2. magnetic jewelry only lessons the fatness of your wallet, and finished up with
    3. reflected spots of light in pictures do not mean that there was a ghost there.
    Then I got around to teaching the geometry I had planned on teaching that day.
    All of the discussions were of course more detailed than the short descriptions above, and became completely worth the time when the girl that had started the whole thing asked me, “So what am I supposed to do with the nearly full bottle of vitamins I have?” and before I could say a word another student told her, “Sell them to a gullible friend.”
    Mission Accomplished. :-)

  5. I gave some people who has given in to the anti-vax bs a hard time. Does that count? And I hugged my black cat (who is THE cutest in the world, of course, shared #1 with my other, striped superiority, uhh cat).

  6. Your cat looks cute, but is less cute than my black cat, who is also fairly vicious. I forgot all about F13, until someone reminded me that night, upon which I promptly did and suffered nothing. Maybe next year.

  7. Other peoples superstitions are always good for a laugh but some of them do have a basis in practicality. Walking under a ladder is a good way to get something dropped on your head.
    I’ve spent most of my life working in theatre, a culture steeped in superstition. It is considered very bad luck to whistle in a theatre. This comes from the days when theatre riggers were sailors and communicated with whistles, so whistling could set off a scene change. On the other hand, saying “break a leg” because saying “good luck” is bad luck is a lot of nonsense. BTW in opera it’s “in bocca al lupo” (into the mouth of the wolf). This is all funny until a performer refuses to go no because someone put the wrong kind of flowers in their dressing room or their lucky underwear is missing. Then I want to slap them up side the head and tell them to grow up.

  8. @Eric: … But in the age of sail (at least) it was considered bad luck to whistle on board ship because it would bring a storm. Maybe on shore the sailors would not care?

  9. I scoffed at someone who mentioned that it was Friday the 13th. I didn’t put much effort into it really. It was just a “Ptah, what rubbish!” with a bit of eye rolling. I did exactly the same at the end of the day when someone told me that they thought our office was haunted because they’d left a light on.

  10. My boss was an ass, but that was not unusual. I hugged my THREE black cats (and the black and white one), and played with my completely white dog (apparently some people think fluffy white husky-shepherds are evil…).

    Mostly, normal.

  11. Got up late, went to the hospital for a check and everything was fine and the doctor wished me a happy and long life, had a really good lunch there.
    Aaaand in the evening I went to a lame party in Amsterdam and after that to a bar across the street where we had a good time and got free shots (drinks).
    Not that bad for a Friday the 13th I guess.

  12. I stir my cake batter widdershins. A friend of my mother’s once claimed that if one did that, the cake would not be “right”. As in “righteous”. [Of course, I’m left-handed, and we all are minions of Satan…] Experimentation, however, indicates that even angel food cakes can withstand anti-clockwise agitation.

    I don’t walk under ladders. People on top of the ladders are prone to spilling paint, shingles, sheetrock, the satellite dish.

  13. I always close the toilet seat. Yeah, because of germs and whatnot and because who really wants to look at an open toilet? but also because I drop things.
    In public restrooms, especially lately, even at work, I turn off the water and the light switch and open the door with a paper towel.
    Whenever “Boys of Summer” comes on the radio and Don Henley says, “don’t look back, you can never look back,” I look back.

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