Posted by: Jim | April 13, 2007

Word of the Day: Paraskevidekatriaphobics

“Having a morbid fear of Friday the 13th.”

At work today, we have a major system down and no one can figure out what is wrong. The cause? Friday the 13th, according to some.

There are many reasons why this day is considered unlucky. Fear of the number thirteen (triskadectaphobia) goes way back to Egyptians, Norsemen, and others. Then the crucifixion (unlucky for some–namely those crucified) happened on a Friday. Plus, Friday was execution day in ancient Rome. But the coup de grace was recounted by Katharine Kurtz in Tales of the Knights Templar (Warner Books: 1995):

    “On October 13, 1307, a day so infamous that Friday the 13th would become a synonym for ill fortune, officers of King Philip IV of France carried out mass arrests in a well-coordinated dawn raid that left several thousand Templars — knights, sergeants, priests, and serving brethren — in chains, charged with heresy, blasphemy, various obscenities, and homosexual practices. None of these charges was ever proven, even in France — and the Order was found innocent elsewhere — but in the seven years following the arrests, hundreds of Templars suffered excruciating tortures intended to force ‘confessions,’ and more than a hundred died under torture or were executed by burning at the stake.”

This is what happens when apes get smarter, but still lack critical thinking skills. They begin finding associations where none exists. They try to figure out what spooks are running the show, and outsmart them. Ah ha! This bad thing happened on a Friday and that bad thing happened on a Friday, therefore Fridays are unlucky!

I’m going to go cross a black cat’s path under a ladder, step on a crack, and pay $666 dollars to the IRS, and just watch. NOTHING bad will happen.

(Knock on wood.)



  1. Actually, something bad WILL happen. Because you owe the IRS $667.

    So for that one-dollar shortpay, you will be considered a Tax Evader and they will garnish your wages, put your kids in a foster home and maybe send you to prison.

    And, given your obvious unAmerican stance as evidenced in this very blog, in which you have repeatedly criticized the Holy Shrubbery himself, it might just be Guantanamo.

    Because those apes keep getting smarter, but not any more intelligent.

    * * *

  2. Occam’s Razor is still cutting 800 years later. Nice post, Jim.

  3. Case in point: after flaunting bad luck, I did my taxes and found I’m getting a *huge* refund.


  4. Nice blog!

  5. Heaven help me, I’m a bit on the superstitious side, but Friday the 13th has never been one of my pet superstitions. Neither has the black cat thing – I have two.

    But you won’t catch me walking under a ladder. Or, for that matter, putting a hat on a bed, because my mother told me, when I was quite young, that some one would die if I did so – silly, I know, but it’s ingrained in me and I can’t bring myself to do it.

  6. Hate to break it to ya, Carol, but regardless of whether you put a hat on a bed or not, someone will in fact die.


    * * *

  7. Heresy!


  8. Actually I have my own superstitions. For example, my career is less than stellar because I keep walking under the corporate ladder.

    * * *

  9. actually, if you walk under a ladder, your luck will be fine, but something may fall on you head.

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