My favorite fact about Friday the 13th is that if you get one in February—unless it’s a leap year—you’re going to get another in March. I first realized this when I was in high school. And now, today, I have discovered that if those two facts are the case then we will also have a third Friday the 13th during the year as well. Look for it in November.
I never took the superstition too seriously myself even though the movie franchise started at about the same time I realized the aforementioned details. That is until I was going to college in Ohio in 1983. It was on Friday the 13th in May that year. I had a friend who lived next door. His name was Frank.
Frank was a very cool cat, who introduced me to the New York City music scene. While I was at school there were few days that the two of us didn’t hang out. That Friday I dropped in for a visit. As I came in, he and one of his roommates were laughing about their third roommate.
Even though it was late in the afternoon the roommate was still in bed. And he refused to get up. Even though everyone harassed him the guy refused to get out of bed and did not get out of bed all day long. He was that freaked out by the day. And as I have discovered his was not a fear all his own.
The great Franklin Roosevelt refused to travel on and Friday the 13th. He also refused to host thirteen guests at his table. No word on whether he counted himself as a guest or not. And his predecessor, the debatably not so great, President Hubert Hoover also feared the day.
Back to New York City for a moment. While I was there five years later in 1988, I remember seeing many buildings, especially buildings that were built prior to or during the early twentieth century, that did not have a 13th floor. No kidding. Elevators with no 13. How lame is that.
What is it with all of this negative 13th business? Realistically speaking, thirteen should be a respected numeral. For one, there really should be thirteen months in the year since there are thirteen cycles of the moon. Forget this twelve business being the most complete number. I have even heard that many years ago there were actually thirteen months in the year, as there should be now. If there were, I believe we could avoid this leap year every four years as well. Don’t quote me on that. I may be wrong!
Anyway, if you ask me this fear of thirteen is completely ridiculous and uncalled for. Oh, and if you’re not sure it’s referred to as Triskaidekaphobia. A word that confusing shouldn’t even exist.
Main Entry: triskaidekaphobia
Etymology:New Latin, from Greek treiskaideka thirteen (from treis three + kai and + deka ten) + New Latin phobia more at THREE, TEN
: fear of the number 13