Apr 122007
Authors: Hilary Davis

Shh. You can’t actually see me. I’m not even here. I should have just stayed in bed today. I’m suffering from paraskavedekatriaphobia. Clearly, that means “fear of Friday the 13th.” I don’t know how you didn’t know that.

You know, Friday the 13th is a strange day. It’s considered to be a day of bad luck in English, German and Portugese-speaking countries. In Greece and Spain, Tuesday the 13th has the same stigma. In a way, we’re lucky because there really are not many Fridays, or so it seems to me, so mathematically, there are definitely more Tuesdays, thus, more bad luck days in Greece and Spain. Probably don’t go to Greece or Spain. On a Tuesday. Or ever.

Reasons abound as to why Friday the 13th is a bad luck day. Some Friday the 13th scholars (if you can call them scholars?) believe the myth stems from Judas being the 13th guest at the Last Supper (note to self – stop being fashionably late, it’s risky). Others say it is because Eve gave Adam the apple on a Friday, so according to this theory, the bad luck day can be entirely blamed on women, obviously. Others say it is because the Knights Templar were arrested simultaneously on Oct. 13, 1507, in France. Nobody really knows if this date was a Friday because they didn’t even have days of the week back then – or at least there is no evidence of it because nobody can find any day-of-the-week underwear circa 1507. Plus, France doesn’t celebrate Friday the 13th just like they don’t celebrate the 4th of July, so I veto this theory. Probably don’t go to France. Ever.

The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute estimates that 17 million people are affected by this day: some by paralyzing fear, others who are not willing to conduct business as usual on this day. To these people, may I suggest a relaxing trip to France?

Of course, it would be hard to conduct business as usual when there are so many things one cannot do on this day. I can’t get married today, because the old wives’ tale surrounding Friday the 13th says my husband and I will be “doomed to a cat-and-dog life.” I don’t like cats, so this would not do. I also cannot set sail on a voyage, give birth (thank God), finish any needlework or harvest my fields. I guess those fields will have to wait an extra day. And that needlework: since I’m so domestic, I’ll just get right on that. Tomorrow.

Of course, I have my own reasons as to why Friday the 13th is such a disastrous day. Fidel Castro was born on this day. And so were Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. And unlike Castro, the Olsen twins are actually IN our country. Trip to France anyone?

Hilary Davis is a senior technical journalism major. Her column appears in the Collegian on Fridays. Replies and feedback can be sent to opinion@collegian.com

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