Friday, May 13, 2011

1+3 = 13

Are you superstitious? Do you believe in feeling unlucky? Do you seek out the necessary items said to be needed to achieve a state of luckiness? Perhaps you may avoid certain events or situations that might put you in the position of having something very unlucky happen to you. If that’s the case, then maybe you’d like to stay inside on this day of Friday the 13th. Every year, usually on a different day, everyone’s favorite day of the week, Friday, is combined with the most shunned number in our numerical system.

The technical term for the fear of this notable day on the calendar is referred to as “friggatriskaidekaphobia”. Yeah, try saying that thing just once slowly let alone three times fast. The first portion of this behemoth of a word, Frigga, is the name of the Norse goddess who is married to Odin according to Norse paganism (tradition). For those of you who stay up on your stories of Norse paganism (yeah right), you know that Frigga is Queen to the world of Asgard. Yup, you got it, that also means that she is the stepmother of Marvel superhero/god Thor. Go figure, one weekend in May is dedicated to helping her son’s movie take the top spot at the box office and the next week her name is synonymous with Friday the 13th. Who’d have thunk it? Anyways, the word Friday is based upon her name.

The second part of that big word that you’re probably still failing at trying to pronounce, triskaidekaphobia, simply means to have the fear of the number 13. Alex Rodriguez, among many others, does not have this problem. They have to chosen to embrace the number and make it their own. A-Rod for instance, has been welcomed into the coveted New York Yankee family and even won his first World Series Championship in 2009 with the club. All while wearing the avoided number 13 upon his back. That was a good year. Phillies suck, they suck something horrible. Just sayin’.

Anyways, there are a lot more people who stir away from the number 13 as well as Friday the 13th. As a matter of fact, according to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute, which is located in sunny Asheville, North Carolina, about 17 to 21 million people in this country alone are affected adversely by this very day. So much to the point in which it is pretty much impossible for them to go about their normal day. They avoid doing nearly everything, especially climbing aboard an airplane or anything that might end their lives in an instant. Even more surprising, an estimated $800 to $900 million is lost in business profits due to this crippling fear.

Whether or not random acts of “spookiness” happen on this day is pretty debatable and let’s face it, probably a lot of fun to talk about. The Dutch Centre for Insurance Statistics reported on June 12, 2008, a day before that year’s Friday the 13th, that less accidents and reports of fire occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday. They also stated that this is probably because people tend to be extra careful on this specific day. Yeah, you think?

Like, everything else, Friday the 13th is not exempt from the attempts to commercialize it. Numerous events or movie releases have been synched to take place on this date. Anything to sell a product, I suppose. The very popular video game franchise, Resident Evil, released part 5 of the series on March 13, 2009. The Armageddon–themed film, 2012, hit theaters on November 13, 2009. The iconic Ozzy Osbourne-helmed band, Black Sabbath, released its debut album in the United Kingdom on February 13, 1970. Stuntman Sam Patch attempted a 125-foot jump into the Genesse River located between New York and Pennsylvania on November 13, 1829. Unfortunately, the day didn’t prove to be so lucky for him. He perished in front of 8,000 on-lookers. Of course, quite possibly the most popular product which helped to coin the Friday the 13th phenomenon, the Friday the 13th franchise, had four of its films released on the day. Mr. Jason Voorhees likes to make Fridays frightening, who am I to tell him that he can’t?

Some other events that could be claimed as borderline eerie also took place on this famous Friday. Legendary rapper, Tupac Shakur, was pronounced dead on September 13, 1996. The Andes Plane Crash of 1972 tragically took place on October 13th. 24 inches of fresh, white powder struck the city of Buffalo, NY during the 2006 “Friday the 13th Storm” in October of that year. So bad things have happened. Whether it was because of the day or not, we may never know but you are completely free to speculate what you will and as much as you want.

Whether you may be superstitious or not, you can’t deny that the sheer thought of Friday the 13th and what may happen is indeed an exciting and entertaining one. Some folks even go out and celebrate this “holiday”. Although it may be just another excuse to drink, which ultimately might lead to them becoming a part of some freak near fatal accident. An accident that they will surely blame on the mysteriousness of the day and not on themselves or their consumption of alcohol. Oh, how I love people. This Friday the 13th might have come and gone but don’t fret my friends, next year you will have three chances to participate in the hysteria. All before the world comes to an end in December 2012.

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