Saturday, November 14, 2009

Unlucky No. 13

I don’t remember ever having any particular fondness for one number over another, but having the 13th fall on a Friday certainly gives me the willies, and I can blame some of my superstitions about this number from my family. (The Irish are extremely superstitious-I remember my mother running towards me in an intense panic when I opened up an umbrella in the house, and she was near tears when my sister dropped and broke a compact mirror!) Now while I don’t have paraskavedekatriaphobia (phew)-a morose, unreasonable terror of Friday the 13th that about 21 million people in the United States alone are afflicted with, I am not without my qualms when this day is approaching.

No one knows how or why the fear of Friday and the number 13 converged. The Norsemen and Hindus thought it was unlucky for 13 people to gather together, and in Christianity Christ had 13 disciples until one betrayed him. And Friday has been considered unlucky for religious reasons as well-the great flood happened on a Friday, pagan Rome carried out their executions on Friday, and Christ was crucified on Friday. Then there are the unexplainable things that happen on this day, like when a British hospital does a study and finds that admissions to the hospital on Friday the 13th are 52% higher than on any other day. If you put two and two together, you get double the dose of bad luck with Friday the 13th.

According to some, both bad and good happens every day, so if you’re looking for something bad to happen on Friday the 13th, you won’t be disappointed. Well, I had one heck of a Friday the 13th, and be it chance or not, I have just recently calmed down about it thanks in part to having a pretty good day today. Now don’t panic because my family or I did not come to any bodily harm on Friday, but there were more than just a few disconcerting events that took place.

As some of you know, I teach high school, and a day filled with teenagers can be stressful at times, but it isn’t usually normal for an entire class to go bonkers! I had been nervous most of the day, and by 8th period, I seemed to be home free, but then I met with the last class of the day-my broadcasting class. We were finishing the curriculum on interviewing, and I asked the class to write a formal thank you letter to the teacher they interviewed. They were to write a rough draft, then type the letter according to my specifications (I had a layout displayed on my smart board), print it out and give it to me by the end of the period. It was if I had asked them for the world, but I only wanted two lousy paragraphs! I also found out rather quickly that most did not know how to write a formal letter, let alone a formal thank you letter. (I did this when I was in 5th grade!)

They were arguing about why they were to use a colon in the salutation instead of a comma, why they couldn’t indent their paragraphs, and why they had to do this in the first place-because it was the right thing to do didn’t convince them, but because I said so and this is being graded did. I wasn't happy with the final results though-there were many finished papers that still had sincerely on the right side of the page, some didn’t center the letter at all, and there were more than a few that signed their name under their typed name! There is no way I am going to give these to the teachers, so on Monday and Tuesday, much to their delight I’m sure, I am going to teach this bunch how to write both a formal letter and formal thank you letter properly. One step forward, two steps back...

I was glad it was the end of the day and I started getting excited about the weekend-I had rented two movies for my kids this weekend (I did it online at Red Box), and I couldn’t wait to surprise them. I hurried home and waited in our van for their bus-and I waited… The normally prompt bus was almost 10 minutes late, but I didn’t let that phase my mood, especially since my children were running towards me with big smiles on their faces-that is until they stepped into the van! In fact, I could see the scowl start to spread across my daughter’s face the instant she got into her seat.

I immediately gushed about the movies we were picking up, but only my son was as excited as me. My known-to-be-overly-dramatic daughter’s bottom lip started to quiver because she didn’t like either of my movie picks-she wanted that second (and I hope I won’t offend any of you) stupid Tinkerbelle movie. We had seen the first in I guess what is now a series, and I could feel my brain cells drying up as I watched! And the thing is, our movies for movie nights are supposed to appeal to everyone, and watching Tinkerbelle is not something my son wants to do either.

I think I gave some sort of speech about being grateful that I even did things like this and how disappointed I was at her behavior as we drove down the road. My son tried to back me up which led to my daughters yelling at my son and me yelling at her for yelling at him and then telling my son I could handle things. We arrived at the Red Box at our local Walgreen’s, and as I was entering my information into the machine I didn’t notice where my daughter was standing-right smack against the area the movies slide out! I looked up to see one movie trying to come out but her shoulder was blocking it. I quickly moved her away and retrieved the first movie, but the other refused to come out, and the machine wouldn’t take my debit card any more! We had a line forming behind us as I waited for customer service to take my call. The verdict was that the other movie was stuck-Ice Age III, the movie my son has been trying to rent for a few weeks now-and I wouldn’t be charged. Gee, thanks lady.

I looked over and saw my son’s face start to crinkle up, so I told him we would try the grocery store on the way home-and I was bracing myself for a possible ugly scene. Thankfully “his” movie was there, so we rented it quickly, and I decided to head to the deli to pick something out for dinner because I was not going to cook. They say that all’s well that ends well, but as I opened up the right rear door to our van I noticed two huge scrapes from the back bumper all the way to the front-someone or something had scraped the van. I was almost sick because the van is only a couple years old and we had already repaired a ding in the back bumper when I ran into something in the garage!

I got the kids in their seats and they immediately started arguing about I-don’t-no-what, when a call from my husband came in. Do you remember that commercial about Calgon bath beads back in the 80’s? There was a hectic mom about ready to lose it and she says,
Calgon, take me away.
The next thing you know she’s in a luxurious bubble bath and there are no kids, no phone, just a tub and millions of bubbles, and this is what I wanted right now.

The evening did get better-the kids stopped fighting, my daughter enjoyed my movie choice, and my husband is pretty sure a grocery cart scraped our van, but unfortunately we didn’t see anything and I’m not even sure it happened on Friday since I hardly ever open up both rear doors. But whether you believe in bad luck being brought on by the evils of Friday the 13th or not, it is Saturday, the 14th, and everything is well. I hope all is well with you too. Goodnight everyone.


  1. I remember "Calgon, take me away!". I also remember "Ancient Chinese secret, huh?" and "Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz, oh what a relief it is.".

    Crap. I'm old.

  2. You want to hear something funny? If a scrape appears on my van (either my fault or a mystery), my husband will somehow always find it. The van is 11 years old and beat up in many spots. There are days when I'm wearing something new and he'll never make a comment. The smallest scratch on my van becomes such a big deal to him. Is he out there in the garage with a magnifying glass? Anyway, sorry for the rant :)

    I know those days when the kids push and push and push your buttons. When all 4 of my rambunctious kids are in the van, I know that within seconds there will be one of those "don't touch me" or "leave me alone" battles will start. I need that Calgon bath too. I guess I'll settle for hiding in the laundry room with a chocolate bar!!! Hope you have a restful (if possible) weekend Susan!

  3. Enjoy a good bubble bath whenever you can. Life just wears you out.

  4. My daughter wants the second Tinkerbell movie for christmas, we still have the first one on the DVR, and the house is full of Tinkerbell crap. I guess it's better than Miley Cyrus!

  5. The bright spot in being clueless on what the date is, is that I forget it's Friday the 13th. I hope Calgon was able to take you away for awhile!

  6. I am not a big fan of Friday the 13th either. I know it is just another day, but still. Sounds like you had a hectic day just calling for that Calgon.

  7. Wow, how things change! I, like you, remember learning how to write a formal letter in 5th or 6th grade! I can't believe kids don't learn that anymore! Found you on Champions of Avoiding Housework and wanted to pop in to say hello! I sure hope your Saturday the 14th was an infinitely better day, and more relaxing at that!

  8. Saturday was much better. Nice to meet you Elizabeth! I look forward to reading your blog.

  9. Sounds like it was a day...

    We just rented Ice Age III and it was pretty good. I liked it a lot. But of course, my daughter wants Tinkerbell too!


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