Friday, October 13, 2006

No bad luck today (knock on wood)

The day's not quite over, but I'm in couch-potato mode, so the possibilities of what could go wrong in the next few hours are limited. I microwaved my dinner without incident. I have enough Diet Coke to last until noon tomorrow. The batteries in my toothbrush could die, but there are replacements in the broom closet. It's unlikely that my computer or TV will explode. Blogger could get bogged down, of course, but that happens so often it doesn't seem to fit the category of bad luck.

The only thing I really have to do is let the dogs out one more time and then I can go to bed. All in all, I don't think I'm tempting fate by saying this Friday the 13th has been an okay day.

I'm not very superstitious. If a black cat crosses my path or I break a mirror, I make a mental note ot it, but I don't dwell on it for more than a minute. If someone sends me a chain letter, by snail mail or e-mail, I won't forward it, no matter what dire threats it contains. So far, to the best of my knowledge, this hasn't resulted in misfortune raining down on anyone in my family. Knock on wood.

That's about my only superstition these days, that knocking-on-wood thing. I have an irrational fear of jinxing good fortune by calling attention to it. I also have a tendency to say what I'm thinking most of the time, so I need to knock on wood fairly frequently. Once, in a metal-and-plastic, industrial environment, I stealthily knocked on a No. 2 pencil. But that was a long time ago. I can control the wood-knocking impulses now...if I have to.

Even in childhood I was skeptical of most of the superstitions I learned about, but there was one I took very seriously. The consequences of ignoring the warning would be too high, and they wouldn't be my consequences to pay. I couldn't, with a clear conscience, take any chances. For eight years, from first grade through eighth, I walked to and from school every day. And every step of the way, one thought quietly persisted in the back of my mind: "Step on a crack and you'll break your mother's back."

I was always careful, and my mother stayed safe.

So there, I've told you mine. What are your superstitions?


  1. Besides the standard ones? I don't turn my calendar page until midnight of the 30th or 31st. Somewhere along the line I decided it was bad luck. Sometimes I let it go a couple of days past (but that's sheer laziness.)

  2. Thanks, Velvet, for posting your comment in Pig Latin. Your wonderful stories and quirky sense of humor often make my day (yes, I read your blog a lot) and you did it again today. So here, is my answer to you about me and superstitions.

    Iyay ememberray atthay ymay 13thay irthdaybay occuredyay onyay Idayfray 13thay. Iyay atchedway oselyclay otay eesay ifyay anythingyay egativenay ouldway appenhay. Ityay idn'tday. I'veyay evernay eenbay uperstitioussay incesay.

  3. Dropping knives! I hate having to pick up a knife I have dropped. I will leave it laying where it falls , walk around it, for ages if no-one is there to pick it up for me. In the end, of course, I have to pick it up, "What the hell..." or the place would be a nightmare. Pick up a knife and you'll have bad luck in the form of a sharp/painful surprise. But, I'm still here ..."touch wood".
    Yes, always touch wood ~ just in case.
    I used to have a keyfob with "Touch wood" branded onto a mini log. :-)

  4. Velvet Sacks, I came here from Kat's blog...and was really enjoying reading your posts...and then I run across this comment by
    heimdallr! I've NEVER heard this about dropping knives. And wish I hadn't now - I couldn't stand a sharp/painful surprise! And now I've got one more thing to worry about! Who's going to pick my knives up! LOL

  5. I still don't step on cracks (and my mother passed away in 1995) and I can't begin the New Year without cabbage (Ohio tradition) and red beans and rice (Lousiana swears by it). I've always owned a black cat of one kind or another and I had to stop knocking wood when it got tricky to find any.

  6. Janet, I've never heard the calendar superstition. Is it original with you? Actually, like you, I rarely change my calendar page before the new month has begun, but that's mostly because I don't pay enough attention to what day it is.

    Annie, it's nice to see you commenting here again. I can see how turning 13 on Friday the 13th could make one a little apprehensive; glad the day passed without any problems.

    Sandy, the "sharp/painful surprise" from picking up a dropped knife is a new one for me, too. I'm sure I've done it many times. Hmm. I've accidentally cut myself quite a few times, too. Now I'm wondering if there was any connection. ;-)

    Jackie, welcome! And don't worry too much about the knives. When you read the blogs of the folks who comment here frequently, you'll be "surprised" at their "sharp" wits and sometimes "painful" honesty. Even sharp and painful can be GOOD things sometimes.;-) I hope you'll come again.

    Kat, I forgot about New Year's superstitions. Our tradition is black-eyed peas and cabbage. And my son-in-law makes the absolute best cabbage dish I've ever tasted. Wish I had some now!

  7. Velvet, I just saw your comment regarding Arkansas place names and thought I'd share this little article with you. There's mention of your favorite here. Arkansas town names

  8. I loved reading this. Spilled salt. I thought it was bad luck and you had to pick some up and toss it over your left shoulder. My friend from Michigan says it means that company is coming. I wish I thought that but I still gasp when I've spilled the salt.

    A black cat crossing my path freaks me since the action is the cat's and I can't control it. If I see a black cat when I'm driving, I'll change my route so as not to obsess that it's crossing the street across the path I drove.

    I knock on wood too. Often.

  9. Like Patsy, I have none.

    But I think that is just backlash for my mom, who has way too many. When she was a child, she broke a mirror and had seven miserable years - her mom left, she was in an orphanage for awhile - lots of bad stuff. My mom thinks the following are all bad luck:

    -breaking a mirror
    -giving someone something sharp as a gift (knife, etc. - if she pins up a hem for me or something, I would have to pay her a penny, so that she wasn't "giving" me the pins.)
    -open umbrella in the house
    -when clinking glasses at a table, she freaks out if people cross arms.
    -celebrating a birthday before the fact.

    She's got a million of 'em.

  10. Annie, thanks for the link; I enjoyed the article. An additional bonus was that you showed me there IS a way to post a link in a comment. Once I saw with my own eyes that it could be done, I was able to find out how to do it. Thanks much.

    Duly Inspired, I thought spilled salt meant bad luck, too -- and that an itchy nose meant company was coming. What if we've been protecting ourselves against the wrong things? Oh, my!

    Patsy, you have none? That's the goal to which I aspire.

    Sunflower, I feel so sad for the little girl that was your mom. I'm no psychologist, but I can't help wondering if maybe it was easier for a seven-year-old to accept that "bad luck" caused her mother to leave, as opposed to other reasons that might have crossed her young mind.

  11. Velvet-yes, that's my invention. I'm weird, but you already know that!

    I didn't know cabbage on New Year's was an Ohio tradition and I've lived here almost all my life!

    I did read one time that some people (Norway? Sweden?) throw something old out the back door at midnight on New Year's Eve. Has anyone heard of that?

  12. Nope, never heard about throwing something out the back door at midnight. One time I had to drag someone out the back door at midnight, but I don't suppose that's the same thing.


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