On The Lighter Side

Forget the Ides of March, it's Friday, the 13th

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(Editor's note: Friday, the 13th, couldn't be observed without some special recognition. The following is Mike Burkett's take on the ominous day.)

This morning, the toaster incinerated your Pop Tarts.

When the auto club finally got your car started, you backed up over your daughter's beloved hamster, Mr. Giggles.

When you got to work, you learned that you'd been replaced by a machine that does everything you do, only better, faster and cheaper.

And when you called home to tell your wife, you found out that she had bought the same machine.

Welcome to Friday the 13th.

Not only that, today is the rare version that is 1) accompanied by a full moon, and 2) the only Friday the 13th of the year. Usually, there are two or three spread across the calendar. Today, a full year's worth of misfortune is waiting to be dumped on your head.

Nonsense? Read on.

To fully realize how unlucky Friday the 13th is, one need look no further than Hollywood, which churned out one of the worst movie series of all time under the umbrella title "Friday the 13th." And all of these cinematic abominations, by the way, were released on a Friday the 13th.

How unlucky can we get?

Yes, there are those who claim that human misfortune happens every day of the year, not just on Friday the 13th. But none of those other days NONE arrive with the same kind of nasty historical baggage ... with the possible exception of the day Michael Bolton signed his first recording contract.

But even before that dark day of infamy, both Friday and the number 13 had racked up some pretty terrifying backgrounds.

On which day of the week does the Bible say that Eve gave Adam the apple? Friday. When was "execution day" in Rome? Friday. On what day was the reported crucifixion of Christ? Guess.

And if you doubt that 13 is the digit world's unluckiest denizen, get this: The ill-fated Apollo 13 space mission was launched at 13:13 hours, from pad 39 (the third multiple of 13) and was aborted on April 13, 1970.

Also, while it is common knowledge that skyscraping hotels are often built without a 13th floor, few Rim country residents have taken the time to stop and realize that their own skyline contains NOT ONE SINGLE BUILDING with a 13th floor!

Unfortunately, the world is chock full of cockeyed optimists who'll try to convince gullible folks that 13 has a history as a lucky number, too.

Some will point out, for example, that the United States started out with 13 colonies. But the fact is, it's entirely possible that if we'd started out with 12 or 14 colonies, we'd all be rich and driving Mercedes Benzes and there would be something worth watching on UPN.

Others will ask if, at the bakery, would you rather pay the same price for a dozen doughnuts or a "baker's dozen" of 13? They don't even consider the possibility that the 13th doughnut will be the one that promptly clogs your arteries, leaving you dead on the sidewalk with a half-eaten Krispy Kreme hanging out of his mouth.

But what the heck. Believe what you want. Just don't come crying to us when Satan does a two-step on your neck in celebration of his favorite holiday.

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