Happy Friday the 13th

This is an unfortunate year for people who suffer from triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13).  We have two Friday the 13ths this year.

Recently I found an interesting book, An Uncommon History of Common Things. It claims up to $900 million is lost every Friday the 13th because of people who refuse to fly or conduct business today. Supposedly, fear of this day afflicts between 17 and 21 million people in the U.S.

One common explanation to all this trepidation is a Norse myth — 12 gods were having a dinner party in Valhalla (their heaven). An uninvited guest and known mischief-maker, Loki, arrives and arranges for the god of darkness Hoder to shoot Balder the Beautiful, god of joy, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow.  Balder dies and the Earth is shrouded in darkness.  (Wouldn’t you love to be the god of joy?)  The full entry on the Number 13 and all its ramifications is on page 118.

The lesson I’m seeing for today is stay from Norse gods.  In any event, good luck!

An Uncommon History of Common Things by Bethanne Patrick and John Thompson, National Geographic Society, 2009


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