Superstition is a funny thing. It is completely real for many people. In our culture, a large portion of the population will not walk under a ladder. Or, they avoid breaking any kind of mirror, hence the seven years of bad luck.
That black cat.
It goes on and on. Some people don’t blink an eye about any of this. Truthfully, I am in the middle of the road. But it seems that is my lot in life for just about everything. On the fence. I hover over the gray area, never quite touching down.
I was reminded of superstitions, last night, while watching the worst Super Bowl in the history of football. Right down to the halftime show and most of the commercials. There wasn’t a collective five minutes of redeeming television there anywhere. Regardless. Athletes are the worst when it comes to superstitions. I can remember when I played ball, from early on. If something was going right in the game, we didn’t change a thing. People had to sit in the same place in the dugout, or, we had to keep our bats lined up, just the same way as we had them before. And if we were ever blessed with a personal-amazing-performance, we tried to repeat the “every bit of it” including the socks we were wearing, or what we ate for dinner the night before.
But superstitions are made in a very interesting way. Each one gets it steam from some occurrence or another. I’m sure the broken mirror legacy resulted back in 1312, when Hazel McBruder bumped into the mirror on the castle wall, shattering it to pieces. Of course, this was the Queen’s favorite mirror — the one with the gold beveled trim — and she was pissed. So she sentenced Hazel to 7 years on the rack, to see if she could straighten herself out. Tenacious Miss McBruder lasted 6 years, 364 days. But sadly, she died on the 7th year exactly. And since that time, the rest of the world, and all modern civilization, pays for one clumsy Hazel McBruder.
I just made that up, but. Probably.
Yet, every culture has its own deal. Spain seems especially superstitious. I am not sure why this is. They may be full of angst over there — too many spices , or something — and this could be their coping mechanism. But in Spain, one superstition is, you should never give yellow clothing as a gift. This is incredibly bad. In fact, doing so, may conjure the Devil himself. Some people won’t even wear yellow. Which would suck for me, because it is one of the few colors that favors my large nose. So. Good thing Kronenberger is not Spanish.
In China, you should never turn over a cooked fish. This is representative of a ship capsizing, and other such catastrophic events. So, if you order fish in China, do whatever it takes to chopstick-out the cooked meat. Short of turning over the Sole. Don’t flip the fish.
In some cultures, including the Navajo tradition, keep your index finger to yourself when that gentle rain falls. You see, pointing at a rainbow could incur the wrath of the gods. In this tradition, people considered rainbows to be celestial beings. Or, if the rainbows are not the actual “beings” themselves, the gods have certainly sent the spectrum to earth for good reason. And we never want to anger the gods. So no pointing, like Mom always said.
Another tells us that we shouldn’t change our beds on a Friday. And another says “no sheet changing” on Sundays. In fact, just be safe and tidy up on Tuesdays, or Wednesdays. I don’t know what the bad luck would be. But it seems pretty clear-cut about the day to make your tight corners.
Although there is no single definition of superstition, it generally means a belief in supernatural forces. Like, fate. We have absolutely no control over outcomes. But this is the desire to influence unpredictable factors. And we humans, we sure do need to resolve uncertainty.
Superstitions defy scientific wisdom. Generally, they are pretty irrational. But there are a LOT of buildings in this world without a 13th floor. So, if we believe in superstitions, we are not alone.
And if any of us don’t believe in them — well — maybe we better.
“What we don’t understand we can make mean anything.”
― Chuck Palahniuk
“The world, we are told, was made especially for man — a presumption not supported by all the facts.”
― John Muir, A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf
“If a black cat crosses your path, it signifies that the animal is going somewhere.”
― Groucho Marx