Friday, 13th September 2013

by Joshua Gaskell

I get up feeling proactive and thinking ‘right, today’s the day I do lots of rewriting and then send out manuscripts.’ But then that grand task gets sidelined by increasingly minor ones. I’m incapable of just doing what needs to be done – I can’t focus on the big job until all the little ones are dealt with, littlest first. It’s like in 30 Rock when Liz and Chris are going through a long list of things that they need to do, and Liz concludes by saying something like, ‘OK, I’ll start by watching all the episodes of —— on TiVo.’ So I get out of bed intending to sort my life out, and five minutes later find myself picking fluff out of the carpet.

This unlucky course of events is not limited to unlucky dates, but this is quite interesting:

The widely current idea that Friday the thirteenth is unlucky is a modern combination of two older beliefs: the medieval fear of Friday, and a comparatively recent dislike of thirteen. The latter was first recorded at the end of the 17th century, in the limited context of people sitting at a meal; it became more common in the late 19th century, and especially in the 20th. The two ideas are not found in combination before the beginning of the 20th century, but the reputation of Friday the thirteenth is now thoroughly established, and constantly reinforced by the media.

A Dictionary of English Folklore

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