Friday, November 13, 2009


So is it Paraskevidekatriaphobia or triskaidekaphobia?

Fear of the number 13 has been traced back to medieval times, although triskaidekaphobia is a word only in existence since the early 1900’s. Some say it is because there were thirteen at the last supper.

It is also linked to Norse mythology where the god Odin invited eleven of his buddies to a brouhaha at his condo in Valhalla (probably connected with football or a poker game, but no one at my source seemed to want to say. I don't know a lot about Norse mythology, but it sounds to me as though a keg were involved). Loki, the god of evil and turmoil, never got his invitation and crashed the party. This made thirteen and the dinner and snacks were only enough for twelve. The god, Balder, always the hero and therefore beloved by all (and who looked surprisingly like Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Arc) decided to toss the intruder out. I mean, who wants to share their pickled herring? So Balder and Loki got into a brawl with fists flying and crashing chairs over each other’s heads, but Loki didn’t fight fair. He could have smacked a bottle over Balder’s head, like any decent brawler, but noooo. Loki shot Balder with a mistletoe-tipped arrow, felling him like a moth with wings aflame. I hate those danged mistletoe-tipped arrows. No good ever comes of them. And don’t give me the rhetoric about mistletoe-tipped arrows don’t kill people. People kill people. These were Norse gods, for crying out loud. It was the arrow, okay?

So, here in the U.S., we have a general fear of the number thirteen. It is part of being a good citizen. We go so far as to skip the thirteenth floor of high-rise buildings. There is the eleventh, twelfth, and fourteenth floors but no thirteenth. Maybe it is just me, but when I step onto a high-rise elevator and notice no “13” button, I always feel secure, like nothing could possibly harm me.

But then enters Friday. Not content with our triskaidekaphobia, we decided to throw in a fear of Friday. At first I couldn’t imagine fearing Friday. After all, at 5pm it is the beginning of the weekend and how could anyone have a problem with that. But then I remember the stock market crash in 1929, beginning the big depression. F-R-I-D-A-Y. Also, “Black Friday” (the day after Thanksgiving) strikes terror in my heart since reports of throngs of shoppers trampling security guards to death so they can snatch one of five items at a super great price hit the papers. So, yes, Friday can be pretty scary.

Hence the relatively new term, Paraskevidekatriaphobia, the fear of Friday the 13th.

Seriously, don’t try to do anything new on a Friday the 13th, like start a journey or have a baby. Postpone it until the 14th, please. In my early 20's I got laid-off in the afternoon of Friday the 13th, but it only lasted through the weekend. By Monday morning they wanted me to get back to work at my regular time. Yeah, don’t ask. I don’t know.

To avoid making this a completely dire blog, I’ve decided to add some hope. For some people, Friday the 13th is really good luck. My mother was 13 on Friday the 13th and she has had some fabulous luck. I mean, she had me, didn’t she? Right?

Tap, tap tap.



  1. don't forget the knights templar who saw their group destroyed on Friday the 13th...and several centuries later they were in a blockbuster movie...

  2. Don't think I didn't notice how you skirted the question. Templar smemplar.

  3. You aren't supposed to start a sea voyage on ANY Friday, 13th or not...or have a priest aboard or women, unless they are naked (does not apply to the priest).

    'Tis the truth!


  4. Q was born on friday the 13th. Of course, it was *absolutely* the best day of my life, but...

    he was 10lbs, 6oz, 21 inches long, with a head that was 14 inches in diameter, and the shoulders of a line backer...I am soooooo never having another child on the 13th...

  5. Jenku,

    So, it sounds as though a priest wasn't welcome, naked or not. Interesting. Would this have applied to a merchantman? I might just have to toss one aboard in the second book. Hahahaha.

    And do not think I didn't notice the "Right?"
    (narrowing eyes)

  6. SingleDatingMommy

    Thank you for proving my point. Had you waited until the 14th he would have been 7lbs 4oz, with a much smaller head. I mean, according to legend, of course. Not that I believe in such things. (tossing salt over my shoulder)

  7. Absolutely RIGHT!!!!! (wipes tad bit o'brown from her nose)

  8. Either Karen IS a nice Floridian and is answering my question as a good cousin should...

    Or she is answering Jenku.

  9. I refuse to comment on the grounds of self-incrimination (5th amendment)

  10. Oh. Ah...hi there Mom. I didn't know you read my blog.

  11. Yes, it applies to all ships. I am not exactly sure why priests are bad to have aboard, but I think it has to do with them dressing in black and being connected with funerals.
    Women are said to make the sea angry, however when naked they calm the sea. That's said to be the reason why so many ships had figureheads with naked breasts...

    Come to think of it, next time my wife complains that there is too much wind, I'll ask her to strip as an experiment. ;)

  12. Jenku

    I would SURE like to be a fly on the wall when you pop that question to your wife.

    Is it true when someone went overboard they'd yell out "Man overboard"?

  13. I think when someone went overboard they usually yelled: "OH CRAP!" and then did a lot of splashing about and yelling "HELP!"...

    If I was answering jenko's question I wouldn't have any brown stuff on my nose. :o>

  14. I am afraid I'll have to admit you lost me on that brown stuff. Can it be ate? I guess, you'll lose it if going overboard naked, in which case someone hopefully will call "man overboard", which they surely would have done in 18 oh whatever, but today, in the age of political correctness, she would most certainly have become a PIW, which is utterly boring of course.

    Is it chocolate?

  15. Jenku,
    Brown-nose is American slang for one who curries favor; behaves obsequiously. Being from the other side of the world, I thought I'd tell you in case you were serious in your above comments.

    On the other hand, I assume PIW is Person in Water?

  16. Karen, I believe the "Oh crap" is modern day language. And yes, I said it when I disappeared off the raft in class 4 rapids the day my sister, Dale, tried to murder me by making me kayak the rest of the way in class 3 rapids.

    But, that is another story.

  17. Thanks for the clarification. I might have been serious if I'd sail in the tropics, up here I would never suggest anyone should take of her clothes in a blow - it would surely lead to immediate hypothermia...

    This other side of the world thing is a bit weird. You seem to do so many things while I am asleep...

  18. Jenku

    And that is why we had to save the world by ourselves in 2012. You were sleeping. Shheeez.

  19. Oh yes, and make me miss the sweaty women...


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