by Samantha Della Fera
The world is facing some scary times. North Korea is expanding its nuclear arsenal. Vladimir Putin has practically become the puppeteer of the developing world. Donald Trump is about one poorly-worded tweet away from isolating America’s allies. And amidst all of this, today we have yet another reason to be afraid: It is Friday the 13th.
Thirteen has been considered a taboo number for thousands of years. There were 13 guests at the Last Supper where Jesus was betrayed. Many Christian researchers believe Jesus Christ was crucified on Friday the 13th. But the superstition extends beyond religion. There were traditionally 13 steps leading up to the gallows where people were hanged. Apollo 13 was the only unsuccessful mission to the moon.
Whether the fear of unlucky 13 is based in mythology or religion, the effects of the phobia are very real. It’s estimated that on Friday the 13th, U.S. businesses lose up to $900 million in revenue, according to cnn.com.
Even with these tangible effects of a conceptual day, I can’t help but find the unified fear of Friday the 13th a little ridiculous. Americans pay strangers to drive them around. They walk arm in arm with people toting guns like accessories. But going outside their routine on such a cursed day? Buying something new or taking a different route to work? Nope, that’s just a bit too terrifying, even for them.
Friday the 13th has come to represent gore and horror. But if our biggest concern is a possible spout of bad luck a few times out of the year, I’d say we’re lucky. As our world crumbles around us, we should turn this symbol of anxiety into one of gratitude. Life can bring you down 360 days out of the year, but there are five Friday the 13ths in 2017, and it’s time to celebrate the small misfortunes of life.
Smile at the coffee you dropped on the way into school. Laugh off the scratch on the bumper of your car. Forget about the failed math test you thought you aced. Friday the 13th is a day of papercuts after a year of broken bones.