Benbrook Library / Musings

Friday the 13th: A Blogger’s Redemption (And Mini Investigation)

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A few months ago, I wrote this goofy post about missing a golden Friday the 13th blogging opportunity. Today, I get my chance at sweet, sweet redemption, as another Friday the 13th has graced us surprisingly (if, like me, you never look more than a month ahead in your calendar) quickly. I’m not gonna make the same mistake twice. Let’s carpe this diem.

Friday the 13th is widely regarded as an unlucky day. A scary day. A day to dodge Jason’s machete. However, with the exception of hardcore superstitious types and paraskevidekatriaphobics*, I think most of us take a lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek view of this most notorious of calendar dates. Should we, though? Perhaps history is littered with Friday the 13ths marked by tragic, terrifying, or otherwise negative events of Camp Crystal Lake-ian proportions and we should be afraid, perhaps even very afraid.

Because it’s the kind of thing I’m wont to do in this place that I am, I did some research on historical events from Friday the 13ths of yore and yesteryear. In order to keep the scope of my search manageable and to gauge the significance of this particular date/day combo in history, I focused only on events that occurred on past Friday, December 13ths. With the help of Chase’s Calendar of Events, timeanddate.com, and various other Internet sites, I did some investigating. Here’s what I found:

-1577: Francis Drake departed from England for a voyage around the world.

Judgment: Drake was ultimately successful in his circumnavigation, so we’ll say this was a good thing.

-1918: Woodrow Wilson became the first chief executive to visit Europe while in office by arriving in France.

Judgment: International relations are a positive. Score another one for the “good” column.

-1929: Actor Christopher Plummer was born.

Judgment: Fans of “The Sound of Music” probably consider this a good thing, as Plummer played Baron von Trapp.

-1957: Musician Morris Day was born.

Judgment: Fans of “Purple Rain” believe this to be a great thing.

-1974: Malta officially became a republic.

Judgment: It’s now a national holiday in Malta, and I think we can safely assume it is sometimes celebrated with cake, which means this is very good.

-1985: A plane departing from Newfoundland crashed upon takeoff, killing 258 people, including 250 American soldiers who were heading home for Christmas.

Judgment: A decidedly terrible thing.

-1991: The Korean War formally ended when North and South Korea signed a treaty of reconciliation and nonaggression.

Judgment: While things haven’t exactly gone smoothly since then, the spirit of a treaty is definitely a good thing.

-1996: Roger Clemens signed with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Judgment: If you’re a Red Sox fan, you probably think this is a terrible thing.

So, that’s six events that were varying degrees of positive, one event that was indisputably awful, and one event that was negative for a small segment of the population and more or less neutral for everyone else. The conclusion my unscientific, non-comprehensive research has forced me to reach is that there is nothing inherently unlucky, evil, or generally bad about Friday, December 13th, and I betcha further similarly unsound research would lead me to the same conclusion about Friday the 13th in general. I feel reasonably confident in advising you all to put down your rabbit’s feet, leave your doomsday shelters, and safely enjoy the world today. That said, if you see a rough-looking gent in a hockey mask, it might be wise to briskly walk in the opposite direction.

*Eggheads, linguists, and regular readers of this blog will know that a paraskevidekatriaphobic is someone who fears Friday the 13th.

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