A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
I hate it when I miss Friday the 13th. It’s the perfect opportunity to point out just how silly superstitions are. But what the hell? Better late than never.
I think all reasonable people can agree that superstitions are absurd, and our lives are not governed by foolish folklore and old wives’ tales. There are physical laws in the universe. These laws were set down by the gods and Mother Nature in a time before time — and they (and they alone) dictate the scope and skein of our lives. All the rest of it is just silly hocus-pocus.
You should never hang a new calendar before January 1st. That angers the gods who control our future, and they will visit their displeasure upon you for the entire year. It’s best to leave the new calendar in its original package until after breakfast on the morning of January 1st; then, hang it, when you’re safely into the New Year. This is not superstition: this is prudent behaviour.
You should never propose — or drink — a toast in water. The gods demand that offerings to them should be made with strong spirits. Anything less shows disdain for their power. The gods will not look kindly on your invocation if you don’t treat them properly (quite rightly!) and, depending on how pissed off they get, they could actually reverse your plea. Thus, “To your health” could become a very dangerous proposition, indeed.
Under no circumstances should you ever step on a spider. Mother Nature will not tolerate the casual killing of her children. She will make it rain. And not some wimpy April-showers-bring-May-flowers rain, either; she will literally kick your ass with water.
On the other hand, wishing on a star will bring your wish to the attention of the gods who will look upon it — and you — with favour.
Also, the gods love sports and fair play. Nothing pleases them more than to see athletes and fans brandishing totems or following rituals to beseech their favour. The gods will reward the faithful and punish the transgressors ruthlessly. There is no other realm of human endeavour that so clearly shows the delicate and detailed balance of the universe, or the benevolent power of the gods. The New York Yankees are living proof. They win because the gods smile upon them — and their fans. I, myself, have an old and ratty Yankees’ t-shirt which I wear during the playoffs to honour the Baseball Gods. This is not some childish “lucky charm” but a strong talisman that ensures continued success. On the other hand, Babe Ruth cursed and the gods hate the Red Sox. This is a known fact. They also hate the Dallas Cowboys, the Detroit Pistons , Patrick Roy and Kobe Bryant. However, they reserve their special, nasty junkyard-dog-hate for the Toronto Maple Leafs who they have damned, for all eternity, for being smug.
Which brings us to the most important natural law of all: don’t be smug. The gods particularly hate smug people. Tiger Woods thought he could get away with it, didn’t he? The guy hasn’t made a decent putt since Elin hit the wrong button on his cell phone and heard what’s-her-name leaving him bimbo-mail. Similarly, Mel Gibson hasn’t made a respectable movie since Payback in 1999. Lindsay Lohan, Sarah Ferguson, Shia LaBeouf, Mariah Carey and Al Gore are all examples of what the gods can (and will) do to the smug among us. The list is long and growing. So be careful, because the gods hate smug so thoroughly that even an idle word can rain havoc down upon you. The only way to try to reverse a random act of smuggery is to immediately touch wood and call upon the fox, cleverest of the supernatural animals, to help trick the gods. Maybe, just maybe … but for safety’s sake, it’s best just to remain humble.
So let’s forget about all these ridiculous superstitions – Friday the 13th, black cats and broken mirrors. As we have seen, there is overwhelming evidence that the universe is controlled by real physical laws, not fairytales and folklore.