Wanderings of a Mind on a Friday – the 13th – Afternoon

Wanderings of a Mind on a Friday – the 13th – Afternoon

When first scheduling this Blog, which would usually come out on the 15th, it became readily apparent that the 15th falls on a Sunday. Not good. So, falling back to Friday, and I'm like... Wow! That will put the Blog out on Friday the 13th ~ Oh my! Whatever shall we do?!! Can you not almost hear the panic in my thought processes when that suddenly occurred to me?! Yikes!

“It’s Alivvvvvve!!!”

Oops. Wrong horror movie.

Okay, I’m kidding. But dang, I didn’t realize that this month started out on a Sunday; as that has to happen for the month to have a Friday the 13th. This is not an opportunity to be wasted. What a perfect topic for a second segment of my “Wanderings on a Friday Afternoon.” Friday the 13th, in this case!

In today’s climate of real compassion and empathy for others, it’s probably not too cool to make fun of those who truly fear this day. So I’m not. Well, not really.

After all, we’re not talking a day turning into a horror movie just because Friday happens to fall on the 13th of the month – are we?

Whether we are or aren’t, I understand the fact that such ingrained phobias still exist. They do – and just thinking about it makes for interesting wanderings on a Friday -- the 13th -- afternoon!


As illogical as it may seem to those of us who don’t buy into any of this, there are between 17 and 21 million Americans who have such phobias. For some, it’s worse than that: it’s the number 13 in general.

People with crippling fears about the number 13 can be terrified of anything associated with that number. Such as a simple pool ball.


But for those with a fear of the number 13, this is not just a pool ball – it is a #13 pool ball! The sweat beads up and the heart races.

So how did all this fear of the number 13 and Friday the 13th begin? Are the fears one and the same?

Not quite.

Those with an enhanced aversion to the number 13 in general have what is called Triskaidekaphobia (TRIS-kye-DEK-ə-FOH-bee-ə).


Can those afflicted with Triskaidekaphobia even say 13? If they utter it, will they turn into a pillar of salt? Or maybe garlands of garlic will rain down upon them in the middle of a meeting? No… garlic is a vampire and Dracula thing. Got it. Have to keep my monsters in the right closet. What’s going to happen to someone who thinks the Number 13 could actually jump off a building and chase them down a dark alley?

Can they perish at the thought?

Not quite. Thank goodness!                                                                  

Then there’s those with a similar, but more specific phobia who could care less about the #13. That is, unless it’s: 

Dr. Donald Dossey, an historian on holiday folklore and expert on the treatment of phobias, named this more specific fear of the number 13 as being Paraskevidekatriaphobia (pair-uh-SKEV-vee-day-CAT-tree-uh-FOE- bee–uh), from “Paraskevi,” meaning Friday in Greek.                                        

Dossey would tell his patients: "When you learn to pronounce it, you're cured!" Some thought his words meant that by pronouncing Paraskevidekatriaphobia    correctly on Friday the 13th , nothing bad would happen to them.

See how fear, misinterpretation, and ridiculousness go together?

Prior to Dr. Dossey’s contemporary label, the word Friggatriskaidekaphobia described the spellbinding fear regarding Friday the 13th. Frigg was the name of the Norse goddess of which our weekday Friday is named. In today’s culture, most would probably prefer the original moniker – as anything that starts with “Frigg” has to mean something’s off-kilter!


Sure, I’m mixing fun and games here with serious phobias. However, not without a purpose. My approach is that by recognizing how phobias prey upon our basic fears as human beings, we may then begin to understand why they occur – and more importantly -- how to be free of them.

Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that most phobias begin around the age of 10. At such a young age it’s hard to make sense out of irrational fears without the help of others who can expose it, balance it, and therefore undress such beliefs from their cloak of lies.

As an adult, the phobia has been there for so long that it’s taken up residence. The same undressing of such beliefs can work in that regard as well. It’s a systematic undertaking. Irrational and illogical phobias regarding the number 13 (and Friday) have roots based on misinterpretations of the oldest story ever told.

It could possibly go something like this:

Good comes before Evil. Pure before Impure.

There are the 12 days of Christmas, 12 months of the year, 12 symbols of the zodiac, and 12 Golden Rings make the number 12 reflective of all that is pure and good!

Every counterpart to number 12 is conjured to make it look even purer. Yin and yang. Shadow cannot exist without light.

Therefore -- 12 is good and 13 is evil.

An orchestrator of such would then go through whatever biblical, mythological or other religious references and manipulate teachings there to fit as being proof of the number 13 as evil. Believe me, there are a plethora of ways people do just that. I’ll just make mention of one: There were 13 attendees at the Last Supper; Judas was the 13th.

As far as Friday’s association with evil: Some believe that the Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday and that Christ was crucified on a Friday (among other stories). There are mythological tales as well. No doubt you get it. Connecting-the-dots is easy if you know where you want the direction of the “proof” to go. It just skips over all logic and reasoning!

Just call it an appetizer of nonsense.

Nonsense. That brings me to Hollywood, well… kinda. But specifically, the thought of HollywoodLand came to mind! It really did... and you know I'm going to tell you just why!


Did you know that the original “HollywoodLand” sign was put up as an advertisement to draw attention to a new Hollywood Hills subdivision? The meant-to-be temporary “HollywoodLand” sign was erected on July 13th 1923 – which was on Friday the 13th.

And were you aware that Alfred Hitchcock was born on Friday the 13th? The most iconic director of cinematic thrillers possessed a very apropos birthday! How cool is that?

Hollywood. HollywoodLand. Good movie, by the way. The one about George Reeves, aka Superman, and starring Ben Affleck and ‘The Pianist’ who gave Halle Berry that big sloppy wet kiss at the Oscars. Yeah, he won the Best Actor category. Adrien Brody. That’s it!

Wandering again.

Well, it’s a wandering kind of blog.

The norm used to be Americans could rarely find a #13 on a skyscraper’s elevator panel. No 13th floor (as if calling it 14 make a difference?). The 13th row on airliners was not there. Today, the fear of leaving one’s home on Friday the 13th still rings up to the tune of nearly $900 million in lost revenue.  
But hotels and skyscrapers are now often being built with a 13th floor and a button on the elevator to get there! “The times they are a changin’!” (as Bob Dylan famously wrote in song).

My last wandering thoughts have me looking up similar phobias in other countries. I found that in Spain, akin to our Friday the 13th is their Tuesday the 13th. For Italy, the day to fear is Friday the 17th (XVII is an anagram of “VIXI,” which in Latin translates to “my life is over”).

By any name in any language – such phobias should be history and nothing more. Okay. Enough!                                 

Modern times and ways have Millennials also saying, “Enough of this FrigginTriFoolishness!” Forget about being a slave to this or that phobia and chill out regardless of the number or day of the week!

“It’s just Bluefish!” was yelled out to a panicked Chief Brody in the movie “Jaws,” as he shot at waters he perceived as being stirred by the shark. Others clearly saw the waters were churning only with harmless bluefish. All phobias are bluefish.


Uninstalled, Baby! BAM! Now we can look at Friday the 13th and the number 13 in a whole new and refreshing light:


Okay, so I admit to more than a bit of oversimplifying, but I’d bet if there were $13 million dollars up for grabs, no one would be fearing about seeing those numbers on a check! I get that too.

Could it be that all this number 13 phobia stuff can be rectified by simply making sense of the nonsense that drives people into modes of unhealthy fears and behaviors? Why not?

Look, there’s enough to fear in this world all by itself. Why would we choose to add to anxiety and fear? We do have a choice. If we can’t handle the number 13 – we choose to get some help about it.

For the rest of us, it’s fun and games. It’s just another day and another number. Besides, Friday the 13th is always the day before the weekend!


Add to that, you’ve just read a Blog that I hope made you smile and perhaps learn a thing or two – or three. It’s been fun writing it, as I’ve learned more than a few things in the process.


The bottom line on this Friday the 13th -- or any other day of the year -- is that there's nothing to fear when partnering with a marketing firm like HPR. Our goal is to take full advantage of the right venues for your business to gain the exposure necessary to increase sales.

Every business has its own specific needs... and that's where we at HPR excel.

We're here when you need us.


Charmaine Smith Ladd
Director of Brand Development
HPR Marketing Group
[email protected]

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https://www.storypick.com/lucky-13-firday/ (sic)