AT RANDOM: Year of bad luck?

Ok, so the Mayans were wrong about the whole world ending thing.

Bloody Mayans, getting us all worked up in the biggest piece of fear mongering since Y2K.

While I’m still just happy to be here as 2012 draws to a close, I don’t know about you but I, for one, hope next year goes by very quickly.

And it’s not because I turn 50 in October (or 292 shopping days until my birthday).

It’s because next year, for the first time in my lifetime (and a vast majority of you dear readers’ lifetimes as well), we will be living in a year that includes the number 13.

As in 2013.

And that doesn’t sit well with me.

Though never formally diagnosed, I suppose it’s fair to say I suffer from triskaidekaphobia, which, according to the website Wolfram Mathematics, is “the fear of 13, a number commonly associated with bad luck in Western culture.”

The website states that the association of bad luck with the number 13 has been attributed to the fact there were 13 people at the Last Supper of Jesus. Or, it could also be related to Norse mythology.

The god Odin invited 11 of his closest friends to a dinner party which was crashed by – and who could foresee this coming? – Loki, the god of evil and turmoil.

This resulted in 13 people at the party, which did not sit well with Balder, one of the most beloved of the Norse gods. Balder tried to dash Loki out of the party, a fight ensued and Balder was killed with a mistletoe-tipped arrow. The kiss of death perhaps?

Obviously, there’s a lesson to be learned here: never invite 13 people to a dinner party.

For me, I remember as a teen of around 14 or 15 (definitely not 13) that I would stare bad luck in the face and I would wear No. 13 in baseball. Superstition be damned!


Groin injury, arm injury, batting average lower than .113. I could not wait to get rid of that number. And I have never worn it since.

Baseball afficionados know who Ralph Branca is, a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers who, in 1951, gave up a home run to Bobby Thomson of the New York Giants in a one-game playoff in the bottom of the ninth inning that sent the Giants on to the World Series.

Branca wore No. 13.

My three favourite golf courses in the region – Salmon Arm, Spallumcheen and Hillview – all have one thing in common: the 13th hole on each course has water, a hazard I have found on each of those holes.

I have never lived on a 13th Street or 13th Avenue, and the only time I lived in a house that included that number, well, I wasn’t there three months before I was out looking for a new place.

You know what was invented in 1913? Ecstacy was invented 100 years ago.

So was the crossword puzzle. So were bras and zippers.

Ecstacy is a major problem in today’s society. Who among us hasn’t been flustered at one time or another by a crossword puzzle you need just one word to finish and the clue is for a word, person or place you’ve never heard of (eg. “Norse god of evil and turmoil”).

And who among us hasn’t been flustered at one time or another by a bra or zipper?

Still, as the new year dawns, I will think positive. A lot of good will happen in 2013. It will be my 50th birthday and plans are in the works to mark the occasion with other friends born in 1963 with a summer get-together in Vernon, as well as a trip to Las Vegas.

I will lose weight. I will enjoy my job. I will love my son more than anything in this world.

I also will not walk under a ladder, I will walk the other way when a black cat crosses my path and I certainly will not open an umbrella in my house.

Happy New Year (knock wood)!

Roger Knox, triskaidekaphobiac, is a reporter for The Morning Star



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