Another excuse for tomfoolery: It’s Friday the 13th

Ooooo, spooky (from

The sixth day of the week and the number 13 both have foreboding reputations said to date from ancient times, and their inevitable conjunction from one to three times a year (there happen to be three such occurrences in 2009, two of them right in a row) portends more misfortune than some credulous minds can bear. According to some sources it's the most widespread superstition in the United States today. Some people refuse to go to work on Friday the 13th; some won't eat in restaurants; many wouldn't think of setting a wedding on the date.

LEGEND HAS IT: If 13 people sit down to dinner together, one will die within the year. The Turks so disliked the number 13 that it was practically expunged from their vocabulary (Brewer, 1894). Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue. Many buildings don't have a 13th floor. If you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck (Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names). There are 13 witches in a coven.

Although no one can say for sure when and why human beings first associated the number 13 with misfortune, the superstition is assumed to be quite old, and there exist any number of theories — most of which deserve to be treated with a healthy skepticism, please note — purporting to trace its origins to antiquity and beyond.

LEGEND HAS IT: Never change your bed on Friday; it will bring bad dreams. Don't start a trip on Friday or you will have misfortune. If you cut your nails on Friday, you cut them for sorrow. Ships that set sail on a Friday will have bad luck – as in the tale of H.M.S. Friday ... One hundred years ago, the British government sought to quell once and for all the widespread superstition among seamen that setting sail on Fridays was unlucky. A special ship was commissioned, named "H.M.S. Friday." They laid her keel on a Friday, launched her on a Friday, selected her crew on a Friday and hired a man named Jim Friday to be her captain. To top it off, H.M.S. Friday embarked on her maiden voyage on a Friday, and was never seen or heard from again.

Some say Friday's bad reputation goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. It was on a Friday, supposedly, that Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit. Adam bit, as we all learned in Sunday School, and they were both ejected from Paradise. Tradition also holds that the Great Flood began on a Friday; God tongue-tied the builders of the Tower of Babel on a Friday; the Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday; and, of course, Friday was the day of the week on which Christ was crucified. It is therefore a day of penance for Christians.

Yeah, um Imma have to call bullshiggity on the whole Friday the 13th freak-outs. Overall I'm not very superstitious (though I don't mess with black cats, I'm allergic and they look like Lucifer's minions – Satan get thee behind me!) yet I find people's fear and fascination with Friday the 13th absolutely fascinating. People afflicted with a morbid and irrational fear of Friday the 13th are diagnosed with paraskevidekatriaphobics. [How have we lived without knowing that?] Henry Ford refused to work or leave his house on this date. This would have been tough year for him; we had three Friday the 13ths in 2009.

Well now that I've shared the folklore, here's facts: There's such a thing as self-fulfilling prophecy. People believe bad things happen on a Friday the 13th, they get up all stressed and freaked out and then guess what… bad things happen. Do not believe the hype. Every morning (if you are a praying person), keep your prayers tight and your mind right and get on out there and do what you too. And if that doesn't work… throw salt over your left shoulder into the face of the devil, wear blue beads to ward off witches and honk your horn three times to stop demons from having their – old wives' tales all of them. Do not sue me if you wear blue salted beads with bells tied to the ends and bad stuff still goes down. That's all on you. J Have a great day and happy Friday to all… even if it is the 13th. Anyone out in BougieLand superstitious?