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Thursday, 06 October 2011

Superstitions

By Claire Jean

After my workout at the Y, I often run into a very nice woman in the locker room. Time permitting, we discuss matters ranging from politics to grandchildren to hairstyles.

As previously stated, this woman is very nice, but very nice people can drive a person like me a little nuts if you’ve been influenced from youth believing in a mishmash of superstitions.

For instance, if someone gives me a compliment, which many times happens in her company (this day being no exception), I immediately make the sign of the horn with my hand. For those of you who might not be familiar, the horn sign is made by extending the index and pinky fingers while keeping the others folded back.

Being well hidden behind the shower curtain at the time of her flattering remark, this was not a problem. However, if I were in view, it can be tricky to do without appearing odd.

After many years, I’ve become quite skilled at doing the horn maneuver and have even been forced to do it mentally. I feel it a necessary precaution should the comment not be sincere or, worse yet, mean the opposite of what was said thereby tempting bad things to come my way.

If that were not enough to contend with, she continued on by asking me a personal question to which I was, fortunately, able to respond positively. This type of a situation requires one to knock on wood so that good things will continue.

Since there was no wood inside the shower stall, I had to wait until I was able to come out and she had left the area before being able to knock on one of the wooden benches scattered about in the dressing area.

Later, as I moved to a section suitable for drying and combing my hair, my comb fell to the floor. In case you haven’t heard, dropping one’s comb is a mishap that requires stomping on the comb immediately before picking it up to, again, avoid bad luck.

Perhaps superstitions sometimes do work and all I was able to do beforehand - e.g. the horn maneuver, knocking on wood - paid off because had the nice lady not departed for home when I dropped my comb, I might not have had a chance to stomp.

Upon activating a new credit card recently, I was asked to read the numbers on the front as well as three on the back. After reading 666, the back three numbers, I immediately requested a new card, hung up the phone and cut the presumed wicked card to pieces.

There are other common myths I continue to take into consideration such as not walking under a ladder, putting new shoes on the kitchen table and opening an umbrella indoors.

I consider Friday the 13th lucky since I was born on that day and date. And, as for black cats, I live with two who cross my path several times a day so how can that be a sign of anything bad.


[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Claire Jean,

When I was a little kid (2-8) my Irish Granny lived with us and filled my head with many superstitions, most of which I still abide by today.

No new shoes on the bed.

When somebody dies the cows cry, so say a prayer for them( The cows,not the dearly departed).

Always leave by the door you entered.

There are so many rules for finding a penny,you almost need a manual.
If the penny is TAILS up, you must bend down and turn it over so the next person finds it HEADS up and gets the good luck.If you find it HEADS up, you get to keep both the penny and the good luck.

Never step on a crack in the sidewalk. You will break your Mother's back.

It goes on and on.She also taught me the "Knock on wood" theory and the "Black cat" superstition along with a hundred others I could mention,but won't.

I never told my kids any of these because they have been such a pain in the neck all these years.

My wife's oldest sister is the reigning matriarch of their family. We stopped to visit one day. She was at the kitchen table reading the newspaper and invited us to have a seat.

We sat down and I took my cap off and held it on the table in front of me. She said, "You know, the old people used to say it was bad luck to put your hat on the kitchen table."

I laughed at how silly that was. My wife leaned over and said, "She's one of them." I put my cap in my lap.

It's bad luck to cross her sister in her house.

Nancy: I agree. They certainly are and have been a pain all these years. My kids never heard of them either. I've spared them the nonsense!

Herm,

It sounds like it might be bad luck to cross her sister anywhere!

Believing in superstitions is BAD LUCK!

;-)

I thought superstitions were for little old ladies. My only comment is, think young!

When I wasn't near any wood when I needed to "knock on wood" I would knock on my head. ("Don't ask")

I never heard of the sign of the horn superstition, but to this day I avoid stepping on a crack in the sidewalk out of habit and not belief. My mother has been dead for 40 years so I certainly can't break her back.

Even if you don't believe in superstitions most people will still throw salt over their shoulder or avoid going under a ladder figuring "Why take a chance?"

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