Superstitions [NOT 13/5/22]

If Friday the 13th happens in July, does the 7 for July cancel out the 13?

Single Grain of Salt
A Single Grain of Salt - Credit:

Anyone a Triskaidekaphobe?

Friday the 13th — No better day to talk about superstitions, or the lack of them.

I am not supersitious BUT I will confess that if I’m grabbing a bunch of something from a store — dinner rolls, apricots, potatoes — I may just get 14 instead of 13.

So, Deadsplinteros (14 letters there) do you have any serious superstitions, or even minor ones? Toss a pinch of spilled salt over your shoulder? Dodge black cats? Avoid cracks for the sake of your mother’s back?

Or do you do something that might seem irrational but has a hidden logic?

Not Paranoid When Someone’s Out To Get You?

In Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond described how he encountered native people of New Guinea who refused to sleep next to trees based on the fear of one of them falling on them during the night. At first he wrote it off as a pure superstition, since he had never seen this happen.

But on reflection, he realized that they were sleeping outside 365 nights a year for decades and decades, and if you did the math, all of those minor odds added up over time. Multiply that number times the number of people in a group, and you end up with an even higher chance that somebody in the group would be killed in their sleep. And since the value of sleeping next to a tree in terms of building a shelter was so small, it was actually rational to find a different place to sleep.

Walking under a ladder carries almost zero risk for the average person. But for a roofer who is around ladders all of the time, reflexively avoiding every single ladder may make more sense than stopping and carefully sizing up the situation.

Saying “bless you” to someone who sneezes wards off no demons. But it’s a social nicety which has some minor value over time, and the cost to say it is practically zero.

So on a scale of 1-13, how often do you engage in little quirks, whether rational or not?



  1. Not really any superstitions, but I do have an affinity for the numbers 8 and 9. There are many local superstitions from the PA Dutch, hex signs among them.

  2. i tap the counter twice…before i take change

    theres no reason for it…that im aware of…no superstition

    its automatic

    and that makes me superspicious

    why do i do that?


  3. I ain’t ‘fraid of no ghosts.

    However, I have enough high-functioning OCD to be superstitious about all sorts of things.  I keep it under control, mostly.  I do have rituals.

    • I ritualistically check my pockets every time I leave the house to make sure I have my phone, wallet and keys, and for the past two years mask. Although I’m not so thorough that I haven’t forgotten one of those on occasion.

      I think the way the brain works it encourages a certain degree of ritual behavior in order to ensure things aren’t forgotten, even if that means some things get overdone.

      I have a pattern ingrained in my head for going down the front steps which means I can do things like look at my phone and just follow the pattern without actually looking at the steps, and I won’t trip and break my face. But if something comes that forces me to look carefully and break the pattern, like heavy snow on the steps, everything just feels odd in a way that it shouldn’t in a purely rational way.

        • I didn’t use to be so fanatical, but now that I work from home, I’m obsessive about house keys. I’m terrified I’ll head out for a walk and hear the door click shut behind me and I’ll have no keys and no way to get back inside.

          I had an extra key made, but have yet to place it somewhere outside that I can get to. So obsessive and stupid, too.

  4. I talk to my plants. I ask how their day went sometimes, and I tell them how happy I am to see them.

    In true midwestern fashion, everyone gets “drive safe!” when I see them off. Even if it’s just talking to coworkers in the parking lot as we’re leaving.

    “Bless you” gets said for sneezes because it’s socially expected. I’m an atheist, I got no skin in that game of needing blessings.

  5. I am not religious in any way and I have no belief in a higher power – although I do subscribe to a slight belief in the Force by way of everything being tied together through the electromagnetic field of the Earth – that said if I ever mention anything bad that might possibly happen – I knock on wood like it’s my religion.

    • most people at work dont even know my first name

      thats nothing to do with faes tho

      i attract fucking wierdos…that are damn near impossible to get rid of whenever they decide im nice people

      lesson learned

      im mr pink now!

      well actually im brodie…and im as aloof as aloof can be short of telling people to fuck off and leave me alone

  6. also….i thought bless you was a plague thing

    you know….its the thing you say whilst backing away from the soon to be dead

    kinda like the first wave of rona… smokers cough granted me an amazing amount of space

  7. I will avoid ladders for the reason in BDC’s post — I’ve dropped tools, buckets of paint, and other miscellanea (including myself) from ladders, and I see no reason that others won’t do the same. I think that’s basically a “superstition” that was grounded in common sense.

  8. I’m with those of you who don’t walk under ladders–but like y’all, it’s mostly because people DROP SHIT, and also a little bit because I’m short & can tend to walk both quickly & quietly according to some folks, sooooo i can end up starting people–and that’s the last thing I wanna do if someone is on a ladder &/or holding stuff on a ladder.

    like 13’s, and generally, Friday the 13ths tend to be good days for me. Yesterday was a “no kids” day at the school, so that teachers could get end-of-year paperwork done (every child going to Kindergarten needs to have an IEP meeting, and a new IEP & Transition Plan)…

    The school district always tries to give staff a day or two in this last month to get paperwork done (teachers), or to start clearing out the unneeded toys, learning tools, supplies, and equipment (Paraprofessionals) , so that packing up later on is easier to do.

    Since I’m a float without a specifically assigned room, yesterday was an “arts and crafts” day for me😁🤗

    I got to finish up a couple projects I’d been working on in my “spare minutes & half-days here & there.” I made a couple of task boxes for a child who’s new to our program and had a lot of fun playing with some plastic eggs I’d pulled for another child to use… and I also started a new project–making about 20 file-folder activities for one of the teachers.

    It was a productive day, but also pretty nice & relaxing, andI got paid for basically doing artsy-craftsy stuff all day😉

    (NEEDED artsy-crsftsy stuff, but definitely light & fun work!)


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