This happens all the time. We’re lucky it does. It gives everyone a reason to think about all the silly things people think about when a Friday occurs on the thirteenth day of a month.
It’s special, but not that special. It’ll happen again in October of this year. A brand new Friday the 13th movie is supposed to be out then, which isn’t that special either. We’ll be lucky if it’s good, but I’ll watch it either way.
If you look around today, you’ll see tons of articles posing the question “Is Friday the 13th really unlucky?” as if luck in itself, or lack thereof, is a legitimate concept to begin with.
There isn’t even consensus about why the day itself should be considered unlucky.
Maybe it was because that woman, Eve, who was crafted from a rib bone, tried to get smart on a Friday the 13th. Obviously, knowledge is unlucky. Women with knowledge is apparently unlucky enough to spawn all sorts of bad juju.
Maybe the Big Flood began on a Friday the 13th. Maybe the Tower of Babel broke ground on a Friday the 13th. There were 13 folks at Jesus’ first last earthly supper. Judas’ seating place card had “Judas, 13th Guest” inscribed on it in fancy lettering.
It also could have been the Templars. We saw all the unlucky shit that befell Tom Hanks. The Templars have a toe in all waters. Everyone says so.
Or it’s because numbers have power and thirteen wields its power most unpleasantly. Twelve is complete – 12 hours on the clock, 12 months of the year, 12 gods of Olympus. Thirteen is thus guilty of being uppity. Or more than complete, which is impossible and so the world descends into chaos. Of course, who of us turns down a baker’s dozen of bear claws or croissants? More is better, unless it isn’t.
Chaucer called Friday unlucky, but maybe he just meant not getting lucky…wink, wink, nudge, nudge. “And on a Friday fell all this mischance,” just doesn’t sound that damning. Adding in the later passage doesn’t make it any more spooky. The death of a royal is no reason to damn anything,
“Who, when your great King Richard was slain
By a bolt, lamented his death so sore,
Why have I not your wisdom and your lore,
To chide the day, a Friday, as did you?
– For he was slain upon a Friday too.”
Thomas W Lawson wrote about a character choosing a Friday the 13th to crash the stock market. Later, a schooner named after him wrecked in 1907, on a Saturday the 14th around 2:30 am. Of course, it was still Friday for Lawson back in Boston, so I guess we count that even though nothing unlucky actually happened to Lawson. Maybe he couldn’t sleep. Insomnia sucks.
Given all the tasks that are best avoided on a Friday the 13th (needlework, harvesting, launching a ship, beginning a journey, giving birth, getting married, recovering from illness, moving, starting a new job, and receiving news), I’m starting to think Friday the 13th drama was just an excuse to be idle. Three-day weekends are the people’s balm, but we all know about idle hands. No wonder it’s such a bad day.
Of course, the real proof of thirteen’s unlucky nature is that someone decided to have Glenn Danzig write a song for Johnny Cash. Satan’s Child meets the Man in Black.
Salt your backs and lovingly stroke your rabbits’ feet, kids. I’m going to watch the new Phantasm movie finally. Maybe.
Who wore it better?