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FRIDAY THE 13TH

Posted by Tim Bryce on July 13, 2012

– Why some people are afraid of it, while others love it.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
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I never did quite understand why people are so superstitious regarding Friday the 13th. There are many ancient myths and legends regarding it, but nothing of any substance. My personal favorite is the day it represents in 1307 when the Knights Templar of France were to be arrested on charges of heresy, which led to the demise of their order. However, this is still nothing but a legend and not rooted in fact. I tend to believe the reason Friday the 13th is unpopular is simply because it is based on a number and day, both of which are considered unlucky independent of each other, and putting them together means double the trouble. I truly believe it’s as simple as that. At least it makes more sense than what anyone else can offer, pro or con.

People are particularly leery of the number 13. For example, it is quite common not to have a floor in a building labeled “13th”, even though there certainly is a 13th floor. I guess that makes the 14th floor “13th” in disguise and we certainly shouldn’t set foot there, right?

When it comes to Friday the 13th, I have seen people who I had previously thought to be rather rational cancel all appointments, refuse to work, and not make any business deals in fear such actions will be jinxed. Some take the day off completely in fear something catastrophic will happen that day. Nonsense. It’s all a self-fulfilling prophecy where people will likely run into trouble if they are predisposed for such a negative event. They could easily make it a lucky day if they were more inclined to think positively.

Then there are those who take the superstition to the sublime and believe such preposterous things as:

* If you cut your hair on Friday the 13th, someone in your family will die.

* A child born on Friday the 13th will be unlucky for life.

* If a funeral procession passes you on Friday the 13th, you will be the next to die.

I don’t think Granny from the “Beverly Hillbillies” could explain it any better.

Hollywood perpetuates the myth as it is good business for them to do so. Not only have they created a movie bearing the name “Friday the 13th,” the producers of slasher films are inclined to release their trash on that day thereby capitalizing on the mood of the people.

The date is also good for authors and publishers specializing in books and articles pertaining to the paranormal. Let’s face it, Friday the 13th is just good business.

As for me, regardless of the number of cracks in the sidewalk I step on, or the number of black cats that cross my path that day, Friday the 13th has always been a lucky day for me. I started to notice this when I was in grade school. Whereas some kids were intimidated by the superstition, I somehow managed to have a very fortuitous day, either getting straight A’s in my classes or perhaps hitting a home run in Little League. It seems I can do no wrong. If anything, I seem to have a problem with the rest of the days in the year, but I definitely do not have a problem with Friday the 13th. In fact, I welcome it.

Originally published: May 13, 2011

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.


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3 Responses to “FRIDAY THE 13TH”

  1. Tim Bryce said

    An O.B. of Macon, Georgia wrote…

    “Ah, a day that will go down in infamy….my birthday!!! 1942 and November too,, What a great day to be alive, 13 for me has always been lucky for me. I am superstitious, I believe is it bad luck to accept money from the public trust with out earning it. “

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  2. Tim Bryce said

    A B.H. of Boulder, Colorado wrote…

    “Ah yes…triskadekaphobia…unnatural fear of the number 13.

    Look at the prime numbers (1,2,3,5,7,11,13 – 13 is the 6th prime)…makes you wonder why folks didn’t get spooky about any of the others? Of course, the IDES of March (15th – although technically I the Ides were on the 15th of March, May, July, and October (all had 31 days) but on the 13th of the rest of the months (wonder why that was – January, August, and December had 31 as well). Of course the term “beware the Ides of March” comes from the fact that Julius Caesar was killed in 44BC on that date.

    I never did quite understand why people are so superstitious regarding Friday the 13th.

    Might was well ask why they are superstitious about: 3 on a match, black cats crossing your path, owls in the daytime (native American lore), stepping on a crack (break your Mother’s back), throw a pinch of salt over the left shoulder when you spill something in the kitchen, and so on.

    There are many ancient myths and legends regarding it, but nothing of any substance. My personal favorite is the day it represents in 1307 when the Knights Templar of France were to be arrested on charges of heresy, which led to the demise of their order. However, this is still nothing but a legend and not rooted in fact.

    Uh, well, October 13, 1307 WAS the date that Jacques de Molay and ~60 other Templars were indeed arrested by King Phillip IV (the Fair) of France, at the insistence of Pope Clement V. This is historical fact…not legend. Historians have established that … the “legend” stuff about Templars comes from other aspects.

    I tend to believe the reason Friday the 13th is unpopular is simply because it is based on a number and day, both of which are considered unlucky independent of each other, and putting them together means double the trouble. I truly believe it’s as simple as that. At least it makes more sense than what anyone else can offer, pro or con.

    Problem is, calling Friday the 6th day of the week ASSUMES that everyone starts the week with a Sunday – which, in the Bible is the 7th day of the week, making Friday the 5th if you look at it that way…and then Saturday 13th would be the unlucky day. But I suspect that people who work on Friday but not Saturday would rather have the unlucky day on a workday than on a leisure day, eh?

    People are particularly leery of the number 13. For example, it is quite common not to have a floor in a building labeled “13th”, even though there certainly is a 13th floor. I guess that makes the 14th floor “13th” in disguise and we certainly shouldn’t set foot there, right?

    For a long time, there was no row 13 on airplanes either. I think they finally got over that superstition though.

    * If you cut your hair on Friday the 13th, someone in your family will die.

    I mentioned above the native American custom about owls in the daytime. I can’t say WHY, but I’ve personally had no less than FOUR occasions where that particular superstition has come true. Basically, many native tribes believe that owls, as nocturnal creatures, don’t normally go out during the day, so when you see an owl in daytime AND it engages your eyes, “someone you know is going to die soon.” They don’t say who, or how soon “soon” is. The first time, my adopted sister-in-law (Choctaw) went home for lunch in Talihina OK, and an owl was on her porch. She immediately went inside and packed two bags and put them in the trunk of her car, not knowing when or where she would have to go. About 5 days later, I had called her to let her know that my wife (her childhood friend and sister) was dying and probably wouldn’t make it through the weekend. She was upset, mostly because she was “on call” for the weekend in the Choctaw hospital and couldn’t come to be with us. About an hour later, (this would have been around 10pm at night) she called to ask if I could pick her up at the airport in the morning. Seems her new boss came by her office and noticed her crying and asked why. When she told him, he simply stuck out his hand, told her to give him her pager and that he had her calls. She did not have to go home to pack – already done. She simply walked out of the office, drove from Talihina to Tulsa, got on the plane, and arrived here in Denver at 0800 the next morning. She did that again when my sister died, and when my sister’s 2nd husband died and when my sister’s 1st husband was murdered. She had no notice from anyone, just that owl premonition. And, I have a couple of friends (Cherokee and Seminole) who have told me similar stories. So, while I can dismiss ONE instance of it as coincidence, I can’t seem to shake 4-5 of them spread apart, and from different tribes, no less.”

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  3. Tim Bryce said

    A J.P. of Toronto, Ontario wrote…

    “I do think the sudden arrest of the knights templar in Paris is the most likely ultimate root.”

    Like

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