My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Friday the 13th

Happy Friday the 13th everybody 🙂

Walking into work today, I fell up the steps (leave it to me to defy gravity) of my building, biffing right in front of the construction crew that was working on the offices across the street. I don’t think I fell because I’m superstitious,  I am just plain old clumsy. Even though I don’t play into the whole “bad luck thing”, this chica is not planning on walking under any ladders, breaking any mirrors, or having any run-ins with BoBo, my neighbor’s super cute but very black kitty cat today…sorry BoBo.

In honor of today’s unlucky date, I thought it would be fun to take a look at just what makes Friday the 13th such a notoriously gloomy day. Here are 13 relatively unknown fun facts about this most superstitious of days.

13. There are many theories as to the origins of this phenomena. One of the most popular of these theories dates back to biblical times. Many Christians have long believed, although it is subject to interpretation, that Friday was unlucky because it was the day of the week when Jesus was crucified. It was also on a Friday, supposedly, when Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit that led to their ejection from paradise, when Cain killed Abel, and when the Great Flood began. There were also 13 people including Jesus at the Last Supper. The 13th person to arrive was Judas who was the infamous Apostle that went on to betray Jesus. Phew! Got all that?

12. Fear of the number 13 is called triskaidekaphobia–try saying that five times fast.  The fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia. Approximately 7-9 out of every 100 people around the world, that’s 19-21 million people in the US alone, suffer from this unfortunate phobia. Because of this fear, many will change or alter their behavior on this day, often missing work, school, travel, etc. I wonder what my boss would say if I called in and said I couldn’t come in to work today because I was feeling a bit ‘jasonvoorheesfriggatriskaidekaphobic’–that’s the fear of the Friday the 13th movie franchise. I am guessing he doesn’t get that everyday.

11. The British Navy built a ship named Friday the 13th. On its maiden voyage, the vessel left dock on a Friday the 13th, and was never heard from again. Sounds like an episode of The Twilight Zone.

10. The state lotteries of France and Italy in particular, never sell tickets with that number printed on it. Darn! I guess I’m not winning the Powerball on that ticket I bought last week in Paris.

9. In the U.S., more than 80 percent of high-rises lack a 13th floor; cities don’t have a 13th Avenue or 13th Street; many airports skip the 13th gate; airplanes the 13th aisle; hospitals and hotels room number 13. This occurrence always baffles me. It’s not like you can actually skip the 13th floor or gate or aisle. It’s still there people. You can try to mask or hide the 13th floor or gate or aisle behind a ’12’ or ’14’, but we all know what it really is…13! I remember the first time I stayed in a really fancy high-rise hotel. I was just a small lass and was so excited to find out that we were staying all the way up on the 26th floor! I didn’t even know that hotels had rooms that went that high. I got into the elevator with my parents and headed straight for the massive button board…I had an obsession with all things buttons at that age (what kid doesn’t) and always insisted on being the one who pushed the ones in the elevators. As I looked at all of the options however, I saw that there was not a button for 13. This struck me as very odd, even at that age. How were we going to get to our floor if there wasn’t a 13th? Did the elevator just fly to the 14th floor? And how did the hotel stay up with the gigantic hole that was the 13th floor, missing from its location? I have since learned the logistics of it all, thank goodness, but am still not sure why places like hotels and airports and hospitals continue to confuse poor pre-pubescent, button-pushing kids everywhere.

8. According to popular belief, it is very unlucky to have a dinner table set for 13 people (stemming once again from the Last Supper theory). Because of this, superstitious diners in Paris have the option of hiring a quatorzieme, or a professional 14th guest. I wonder how a person goes about applying for that position and what the pay is? If it’s all the crepes and chocolate croissants you can eat, count me in!

7.  I guess you could say the number 13 is the black sheep of the number family. It lacks a certain gen-ce-que if you will, that 12 seems to possess. According to numerologists, 12 is a complete number– there are 12 months in a year, 12 hands on a clock, 12 inches in a foot (not to confuse you with 5 toes on a foot), 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 days of Christmas and 12 eggs in a dozen. Aww…I kind of feel bad for the poor fella, always having to follow in 12’s footsteps.

6.  Infamous murderers Charles Manson, Harold Shipman, Frederick West, Saddam Hussein, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Wayne Gacy, Theodore Bundy, and Jack the Ripper each have 13 letters in their names. Coincidence? I’ll let you decide.

5. Get ready to show use your mad math skills with this one. You’ve all probably seen the amazing movie Apollo 13 starring the incomparable Tom Hanks and know how that particular trip to the moon had its share of misfortunes. What you may not know however is that Apollo 13 was launched on April 11, 1970 or 11/4/70, which when added together equal 13 (4+11+70=85 8+5=13). Although launched from Florida, the time of launch at Mission Control in Houston, Texas, was 13:13 CST. Failure of the No. 2 oxygen tank occurred on April 13 at 02:08:53.555 UTC, which when converted to the Eastern time zone is 9:08:53.555 and equals 13 (9+8+53+555=625 6+2+5=13). Finally, it was estimated that the bill for repairing the damage from the explosion that happened prior to launch would have been $13 million. Wowsas!

4. Any time a month begins on a Sunday, there will be a Friday the 13th. The most number of occurrences of Friday the 13th–which was 3– recently was in 2009 and will happen again in 2012 — the supposed year when the world would end. Hmm..go figure.

3. Despite his skill, former Miami Dolphins Quarterback Dan Marino (#13) never won a Super Bowl. Although I wouldn’t entirely blame his choice of jersey numbers on that one.

2. Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen were born on Friday the 13th. You saw the episode of Full House where Michelle falls off her horse, right?

1. Did you know that a baker’s dozen consists of 13 for a reason? So the story goes, a witch near Albany, NY demanded 13 items every time she came in to a particular bakery, and one day the old baker could not afford her extra biscuit. She sneered some strange words at the man, and he suffered terrible luck from then on, until he brought her another 13 rolls. After that, life was once again easy for the baker and word spread around town. The custom is still sometimes practiced today. I practice it, not so much because I am afraid of getting bad luck from a not so nice witch, but because who wouldn’t want an extra cookie or donut thrown into the mix?

And now in true fashion, I will ensure that this post isn’t too unlucky by including a 14th fact.

I was making my oatmeal this morning in the microwave when it started to overflow (I haven’t figured out how to prevent this from happening yet–if any of you have any tricks you could share, I’d be much appreciative), spilling contents all over the place. The time on the clock when said occurrence happend…6:13. Just saying.

Hope you all have a great Friday!

Question of the day: Do you believe all of the Friday the 13th hype?

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