Oooooo, it’s Friday the 13th! WITHDRAW ALL THE MONEY FROM YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS AND HEAD FOR THE HILLS BECAUSE EVERYONE IS GOING TO DIE-
yeah ok. According to Wikipedia, there is no documented history of the Friday the 13th superstition before the 1950s. There are a lot of theories about why people are so freaked out by this day, but they all boil down to this: People are stupid. Yes. If you believe in superstitions, it’s going to be very hard for me to respect your intelligence, or your existence on this planet, or your right to breathe my air. (That’s right, I’m going controversial with this blog) Here’s why:
1. It’s all in your head. When I was in 8th grade, my science fair project was a social experiment in which I tested out the legitimacy of different superstitions (like walking under ladders) and their effects. I didn’t limit the experiment to negative superstitions; I gave my subjects either a good or a bad superstition to test. I had two groups of people: I told one group about the experiment and exactly what superstitions I was testing on them, and then I told another group absolutely nothing. Group 2 only knew that I was making them do stupid things like throwing salt over their shoulders. At the end of the experiment, I had each group fill out a survey about their day. My findings weren’t surprising: the people who knew they were getting a good luck superstition had better days, the people who knew they were getting bad luck superstitions had worse days, and the people who had no idea what I was doing had average days.
I think this experiment, limited as it was because I was 13, basically proves my point. Superstitions are self-fulfilling prophecies. If you believe that a black cat crossing your path is bad luck, you’re probably going to have a bad day, because your brain is focused on all the terrible things that damn cat might rain down upon you. But if a black cat crosses my path, my allergies might flare up because I’m allergic to cats, and then I’ll get on with my perfectly average day because my brain doesn’t care. Knowing that superstitions are only what you make them is the first step in recovery from your clear mental disability.
2. Superstitions can be gross. I dated an athlete for a year in high school, so I got a front row seat to the paranoia superstitions play in sports. My boyfriend played baseball, and when he was on a hitting streak, he wouldn’t shave. As a result, I wouldn’t kiss him, because his teenage scruff was gross and scratchy. I also knew boys on his basketball team who wouldn’t change their socks for weeks at a time because they were doing really well during games. That. Is. Disgusting. There is absolutely no correlation between what pair of socks you’re wearing and how well you play basketball. There is only you. If you’re a good basketball player and you’ve been practicing, you will do well. If you don’t ever practice and you’re mediocre to begin with, you probably won’t do well. It’s that simple. Don’t be gross.
3. If you believe in superstitions, you are stupid. It’s as simple as that. There is absolutely no study that has ever substantiated claims of superstition, and if you believe in them regardless, you’re a sad, sad little person, and I hope when you die alone in your cat-infested trailer, your surviving cats don’t eat you.
There are some people who would argue that I could use the same arguments to mock religious people, but first, you’re kind of a dick (what do you care what people believe, if it doesn’t hurt anyone?), and second, while it’s a similar situation, it’s different enough to bypass my arguments above. The thing about being religious is that it’s on a much bigger scale, and unlike superstitions, religion can’t be disproved. The very fact that I haven’t died a thousand terrible deaths due to all the ladders I’ve walked under and all the black cats roaming around me disproves superstition. There is no test like that for religion, so don’t be a jerk. There are a lot of legitimate claims against religion, and the existence of God, but there is no way to substantiate those claims.
What it comes down to is this: all faith isn’t stupid, and all skepticism isn’t warranted or constructive. However, if you believe that filling your house with crickets and wearing your suit inside-out is going to get you a promotion, you should probably go get help. Immediately.