Long held superstitions help us feel in control. But there is no good reason to fear numbers or other things that we think are unlucky
I love the number 13. I mean… what’s not to love? A baker’s dozen is 12 plus 1. An extra donut? Yes, please.
In a hurry at the grocery store? Checkout lane number 13 is probably shorter. Looking for an apartment in a tall building? Units on the 13th floor could be cheaper.
Need a number for a username that you can remember but also isn’t already taken? That’s right. The number 13 is right there waiting for you.
I am a fan of other supposedly unlucky numbers too.
The number 666 is slighted by people, cast aside as evil for no good reason at all. And I’m right there to pick it up. In fact, I would even say that 666 is my lucky number, and not just because it’s a bitchin’ Iron Maiden song. And bonus: it’s almost all mine. A rejected loner, the maligned number of the beast has always been there when I need it. Mostly because it’s always available.
Why are people scared of numbers?
Superstitions are a mental relic that we simply can’t let go of. A fabulous example of how easily our brains are tricked into believing silly things for no good reason at all.
Our lizard brains kept us safe and helped us avoid being eaten by saber tooth tigers at one point, but now these functions hinder us. They produce fear, dread, and anxiety where it isn’t needed anymore.
And yet we still give these irrational feelings the same weight as things that have actual evidence behind them.
Superstitions bring us a sense of control when things get scary. They can help relieve anxiety by giving us something to do. They allow us the illusion of being able to change future unlucky events.
And you know sometimes, they even work.
I was told that finding pennies on the ground was good luck. So whenever I found one, I felt lucky. But more than that, I took notice of the “luck” it brought me. I got a good grade on a test. My sister actually gave me the bigger half of the candy bar. And it all happened on the day that I found a penny.
But the converse is true also. It’s Friday the 13th? Well, that’s obviously why I accidentally rear-ended the BMW in front of me. I swear it had nothing to do with me glancing down at my phone.
Bang your little toe on the leg of the coffee table? The fact that your total for your Red Bull and snickers at the convenience store was $6.66 foretold your fate. If only you had listened.
The silly superstitions people believe aren’t going away anytime soon. Maybe that’s not the worst thing in the whole world though, at least not for me. Because that black cat that no one wanted could be my next best friend. Go-cart number 13 might be the last to get picked, but I bet with less wear and tear, it’s probably the fastest.
There’s no reason at all to fear Friday the 13th. It is still a Friday after all.
And who knows, you might just get lucky.