Today is the day that a lot of people decide to be knuckleheads. There’s even a funny name for these folks: friggatriskaidekaphobics.
Friggatriskaidekaphobia, you see, is the morbid fear of Friday the 13th.
Today is the first of two Friday the 13ths in 2013, the next one arriving exactly 13 weeks from today, which is quite a coincidence if you believe in those type of things, which I definitely don't. Maybe I’m just getting old, but anybody who believes that black cats or busted mirrors or spilled salt has jack to do with what kind of luck they’re having oughta go and have their tiny little head examined (or at least have their palms read).
So, about this friggatriskaidekaphobia. The word was derived like this: Friday was named after a Norse goddess named “Frigg” (because apparently the Vikings didn't like cursing). The fear of the number 13 is known as “triskaidekaphobia,” hence "friggatriskaidekaphobia." Hey, don’t look at me. I’m still trying to get over the idea that there is an actual phobia for being scared of a number.
Just how did Friday the 13th get so scary in the first place? Damned if I know, but there have been plenty of theories passed down through the ages. I myself subscribe to the “It’s all that pain-in-the-ass Judas Iscariot’s fault” because, like so many wonderfully preposterous stories, this one is biblical in origin.
We’re talking the Last Supper here, a not-so-festive get-together attended by, you guessed it, 13 people, specifically Jesus Christ and his 12 apostles. Mr. Iscariot, one of the apostles — but best known for being the original rat for betraying J.C. and getting him killed — is said to have arrived at the Last Supper, well, last, making him the 13th guest. And I'm not sure how this really explains much of anything, although it certainly seems to hold a lot of sway with hotels.
As for Friday, well, it’s got biblical baggage coming out of its binding. You’ve heard of the crucifixion, yes? Happened on a Friday. So did the Great Flood, which may explain why Noah was the first to say, "TGIF."
There's an outfit called the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina, contending that millions of Americans fear Friday the 13th, showing symptoms ranging from mild anxiety to full-blown panic attacks.
I feel bad for these people today, I really do. But I'll be very happy tomorrow morning when I can say, "Thank God it's Saturday."