I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go outside this morning – it was Friday the 13th after all, and the second one in this young year, with another one slated for November.
But out I went, being careful not to step on any cracks, or let any black cats cross my path. No one was using a stepladder at that time of day so … whew, I did not have to worry about walking underneath a ladder that I happened to encounter along the way.
I can’t say that I suffer from paraskavedekatriaphobia, or fear of Friday the 13th. And, I am not really superstitious either, although I did have a few errands to do today and said to myself “well, they can wait ‘til next week” … that reasoning was just in case there was some kind of funky Friday the 13th karma lurking out there, and I sure didn’t want to be part of it.
Now, I’ve known people in the past who were superstitious about certain days. Both were former co-workers and I’ve lost track of them through the years, so I don’t know if they still have their intense fears.
A secretary named Sandy refused to leave her home every Friday the 13th and sequestered herself there until the entire day had passed.
A young attorney named Kim had successive mishaps on March 15th, a/k/a “The Ides of March” or the day when Julius Caesar was assassinated back on March 15, B.C. Kim was certainly one who should have heeded the warning to “beware the Ides of March”.
The first time she was jogging in the morning, something she did year round, even most Winter days. She somehow made a misstep, slid on a piece of black ice, whereupon she fell at an awkward angle, shattering her slender ankle into many pieces, much like the fate of a valuable race horse who has stumbled and gone down hard. She had to have surgery with multiple pins put in her ankle and was on crutches with a huge cast, then a walking cast, for much of the Summer and Fall that year.
After a grueling recovery, the following March 15th, Kim left work, headed to the parking garage and hopped into her new, bright blue and pink “Splash” pick-up truck. Soon the passenger door opened and a tall stranger was in the seat beside her brandishing a gun and telling her not to scream or she would be sorry. He grabbed then stuffed her open purse under his heavy jacket. She started the truck, and they wound their way around the seven levels of the Buhl Garage and finally reached the gate. She reached up behind the visor to grab her access pass, and nervously tried to stall leaving the garage by purposely swiping it incorrectly. The intruder got angry and said “no games – go through the gate” so she turned the card correctly, the gate lifted and they left the safe confines of the garage. They headed down Jefferson Avenue and soon turned onto a side street in Greektown where he gruffly told her to “get out now”. She scrambled out the door and he slid over to the spot she vacated and sped away. She had no cellphone to call the police and went into a restaurant, tears streaming down her face and shaking like a leaf. The owner called the police, and they scoured the area for her truck and her missing purse, but neither were found. The locks had to be changed on all the office doors. It was a harrowing experience to be sure, and from that day forward she vowed to never leave the house on the “Ides of March”.
So dates can be pretty significant sometimes.
But sometimes the numbers game can be fun.
I heard an interesting statistic on the news yesterday about the annual NCAA college basketball tournament that we refer to simply as “March Madness”. A statistician said that sometimes a grandmother who knows nothing about basketball, could sit down and fill out her predictions with just about as much accuracy as a person who spent hours, if not days, analyzing team stats and player prowess, then painstaking pores over and creates a bracket sheet. Well that was interesting, albeit not so believable. I’ve seen the form for bracket sheets plenty of times at the office, but wouldn’t even know how to start working on one. Whenever I’ve picked squares for the office football pool, just by eeny-meeny-miny-moe, I’ve won a few times, but then there is no skill involved in that exercise, just Lady Luck prevailing.
It sure is hard to pick potential lottery prize numbers. How do you guess? Is it scientific or do you just close your eyes and see where the nib of your pencil lands or do you tell the computer to pick for you? When the lottery in Michigan first began in November 1972, just a few months later, lucky 53-year old Hermus Millsaps was the winner of the first million-dollar prize. The media covered his arrival at the lottery office where he was presented with an over-sized check of his winnings. He was just an “ordinary Joe” who worked at Chrysler and he soon piddled his big prize away and died pretty much penniless in 2002.
But, based on ol’ Herman’s luck in that very first Lotto game, my mom and I decided to play the lottery too. We put our heads together and devised our six numbers for the bet sheet based on a configuration of our birthday info, phone number and house address. Then, clutching that configuration of lucky digits (1, 2, 3, 8, 19 and 21), hopefully a potentially final numbers combo, I hustled to the Lotto retailer, took their number two pencil, filled in the little boxes and handed over two quarters with my fingers crossed. That Saturday night, as luck would have it, the numbers were pulled and we had four numbers. We won a whopping $37.00 and immediately decided we would play that combo of numbers forever. Well, we played for years thereafter and never won another dime.
If all this foolishness about numbers was not enough, tomorrow mathematicians the world over will recognize and celebrate Pi Day, 03/14, which symbolizes Pi, or the ratio of a circle’s circumference: 3.14. Did you know that Congress designated March 14th as Pi Day back in 2009?
Well, even if numbers are not your game, you can celebrate too. Your choice … berry or cream, so there!