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Monday, 13th: The ‘T’ Factor, Pt. 2

Yesterday sucked. Monday 13th is an unlucky day.

This is a post mainly for my benefit. I need to vent and part of the purpose of this blog is to help me remember events and hopefully this is something I can look back on at some point and laugh. Anna found it all funny at the time, but it might take me a little longer.

First of all, why is Friday 13th considered unlucky in western culture? I’ve always wondered why it was this particular combination of day and date. Most cultures have lucky and unlucky numbers and days; In many areas of Asia the number ‘8’ is considered lucky and the number ‘4’ is unlucky, that is why the Beijing Olympic games began on 08/08/08. One time in Singapore I was waiting to use an ATM and was stuck behind two elderly gentlemen, neither of whom knew each other, but both of whom had the exact same PIN number (judging by the way it was entered, of course), ‘88888888’. They were lucky they’ve never been robbed! Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia has 88 floors and many more examples of the prevalence of the number eight can be found here. At the opposite end of the spectrum, some buildings don’t have a fourth floor in Asia, in much the same way that a lot of buildings in the Western world don’t have a 13th floor. There is even a specific name for the fear of the number ‘4’: “Tetraphobia“. In a similar way, ’17’ is considered unlucky in Italian culture and in some parts of Afghanistan it’s 39 (thrice 13, by the way).

Although ’13’ is believed to be lucky in most contexts in Italy and among Venezuelan athletes, it is considered unlucky in most of the Western world. Why does triskaidekaphobia, the fear of number ’13,’ exist? A little research, well, just wikipedia again as usual, came up with this:

There is a myth that the earliest reference to thirteen being unlucky or evil is from the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi (circa 1780 BCE), where the thirteenth law is omitted. In fact, the original Code of Hammurabi has no numeration. The translation by L.W. King (1910), edited by Richard Hooker, omitted one article:

  • If the seller have gone to (his) fate (i. e., have died), the purchaser shall recover damages in said case fivefold from the estate of the seller.

Other translations of the Code of Hammurabi, for example the translation by Robert Francis Harper, include the 13th article.

Some Christian traditions have it that at the Last Supper, Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th to sit at the table. However, the Bible itself says nothing about the order at which the Apostles sat. Also, the number 13 is not uniformly bad in the Judeo-Christian tradition. For example, the attributes of God (also called the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy) are enumerated in the Torah (Exodus 34:6–7). Some modern Christian churches also use 13 attributes of God in sermons.

Triskaidekaphobia may have also affected the Vikings: It is believed that Loki was the 13th god in the Norse pantheon—more specifically, Loki was believed to have engineered the murder of Balder and was the 13th guest to arrive at the funeral. This is perhaps related to the superstition that if 13 people gather, one of them will die in the following year. However, the oldest source of this myth, Lokasenna, has far more than 13 guests (17 of the guests are mentioned by name) so this example should not be taken too seriously. Another Norse tradition involves the myth of Norna-Gest: When the uninvited norns showed up at his birthday celebration (thus increasing the number of guests from ten to thirteen), they cursed the infant by magically binding his lifespan to that of a mystic candle they presented to him.

Officespace: A great film that sums up a large portion of my 20s

Okay, I can now kind of understand why some (but not me, I deal solely with reality) may believe ’13’ to be “nicht sehr gut”, but why Friday? Everyone loves Friday! Most people, except those who work in hawker stalls in Singapore, hate Monday! Friday is generally the end of the working week, the weekend is in sight, after-work drinks and much associated debauchery will be had that night! But Monday is the furthest possible time from the weekend and a sleep-in. The Spanish and Greeks came close with their fear and resentment of Tuesday 13th, but why Friday for us? Again, my friends at Wikipedia try to help out:

King Philip IV of France, in collusion with then Pope Clement V, had Grand Master Jaques De Molay and sixty of his Templar brothers arrested as apostates on Friday the thirteenth of October 1307. This was done in order to claim the famed properties and wealth of the Knights Templars as their own.

The superstition surrounding this day may have arisen in the Middle Ages, “originating from the story of Jesus’ last supper and crucifixion” in which there were 13 individuals present in the Upper Room on the 13th of Nisan Maundy Thursday, the night before his death on Good Friday. While there is evidence of both Friday and the number 13 being considered unlucky, there is no record of the two items being referred to as especially unlucky in conjunction before the 19th century.

An early documented reference in English occurs in Henry Sutherland Edwards’ 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini, who died on a Friday 13th:

  • He [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that on Friday 13th of November he passed away.

It is possible that the publication in 1907 of Thomas W. Lawson’s popular novel Friday, the Thirteenth, contributed to disseminating the superstition. In the novel, an unscrupulous broker takes advantage of the superstition to create a Wall Street panic on a Friday the 13th.

The legend connecting the superstition with the date of Friday, 13 October 1307, when hundreds of the Knights Templar were arrested by King Philip IV, may date to the 20th century. It was referred to in Dan Brown’s 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code,’ in Steve Berry’s “The Templar Legacy’ and in John J. Robinson’s 1989 work Born in Blood: The Lost Secrets of Freemasonry, and also in the Maurice Druon historical novel series: “The Accursed Kings” (Les Rois Maudits).

I’m sorry, but that isn’t strong enough evidence for me and I am going to try and campaign to get Friday 13th changed to Monday 13th, it just makes more sense. I’ve discussed the ‘T’ Factor before and I am a klutz in general; Friday night I was in a bar and had a conversation with a waitress that went like this:

Tim: “Wo ist die toilette?” (English: “Where is the toilet?”)
Waitress: “Am ende der halle, auf der linken Seite.” (English: “At the end of the hall, on the left.”)
Tim: “Gracias.” (English: “Thank you”)

“What’s wrong with that?”, you may ask. Well, I answered a German woman in Spanish, that’s what. Also, on Sunday while we were in a cafe I managed to kick our table really hard and spilt scolding hot coffee all over my testicles. We all do stupid things and we all have bad days, but let’s get down to the purpose of this blog entry:

Monday, April 13, 2015

  • Yesterday just started out badly; I had one of those days where I woke up feeling “Meh.”, I just didn’t feel particularly great, I think I woke from a shitty dream or something. I opened the window and it was cold and grey outside.
  • I had had a great weekend, so I decided to write a blog post about it. Half way through writing I accidentally pressed ‘Publish’, as opposed to clicking ‘Save Draft’. I have a bad case of OCD when it comes to anything creative, but I didn’t want  anyone to read a half-finished post, so I rushed it and then spent a decent period of time editing out the mistakes and fixing the grammar.
  • It was time to get down to my house-husbandly duties: I went down to the laundromat, but I’ve only used it once and the instructions are all in German. I put in €3 for the first load, no problems. It says that a load is €2,50, exactly the amount of change I had for the second load. I put it in, nothing. A man comes over to help me and notices that I am trying to wash a load consisting exclusively of women’s underwear. When you are my size, unshaven, and washing bras and panties in Germany, you get a really weird look that can’t be put into words. I think I’d be referred to as a “bear”.
  • Another section of the laundromat instructions mentions €0,50 for something, I figured that was for the cup of washing powder I got so I am now short for the load. The machine takes notes, the smallest of which I have is €10 so I put it in, everything starts to work, but no change comes out. A 2000% increase in the price of washing powder, apparently.
  • Next on the list was a particular purchase for someone special. A hairy man trying to ask about the specifications of tampons in a second language gets you that look again. I can say “They’re for my wife” as many times as like, but I could tell the shop assistant was just thinking, “Sure they are, big boy.”
  • Our little food-processing buddy. I hope you're okay, green fella!

    Our little food-processing buddy. I hope you’re okay, green fella!

    I came home and Anna wasn’t feeling so great, so I decided to make some soup for her. I was already going to cook, this was just something extra to help her feel better. We have an expensive, high-tech food processor we bought in October when we both decided to lose weight and drink only fruit juice for lunch. It also makes soup, but I somehow overheated it and killed it. Well, briefly, anyway. Anna got it going again last night, so I think it works now. Maybe…

  • Anna was feeling crappy, my day sucked, so why try to change it? I just let her curl up on the couch for the night and watch almost the entire first season of Mistresses. God, I hate that show!

If you got this far, thanks for reading my whining, I’m feeling heaps better today, I even woke up early and didn’t feel tired! I think I’ll reward myself with a McRib for lunch.

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