Born on Friday the 13th

Posted by: Sam Eaton
Under: Quantum Thoughts
13 Jul 2007

I was born on Friday the 13th and have suffered from a lifelong case of paraskavedekatriaphilia (A love of Friday the 13th), not to be confused with a simple case of triskaidekaphilia (love of the number 13). Getting a pile of presents on Friday the 13th one out of every twelve or so occurrences, provided just enough positive reinforcement to support an ongoing irrational affection for an arbitrary date.

Seeing other people receive presents on other, Friday the 13ths stimulated my “Missed Opportunity” response: “If only I had had a birthday on this Friday the 13th, I would have gotten presents!” This bit of psychology encourages continued birthdays.

When I was younger a run (1974 & 1978) of heavy Friday the 13th payouts led me to believe that the date was “hot”, despite long runs from 1978 to 1985 with few or no presents, again encouraging continued birthdays.

Among the different international and historic bodies who regulate birthdays, dates and the number 13, I chose the Gregorian calendar as it seemed to provide the best payout. I also considered using the Mayan calendar, which actually allowed for a higher birthday-related compensation (think gold jaguars), but the (statistically unlikely) downside of having my heart devoured by my fellow citizens discouraged me.

The Norse calendar also provided an interesting alternative, since both Friday and the number 13 were considered sacred to the goddess Freyja (Friday is named after her). But a downside once again reared its head in the form of the ritual birthday beatings that would not only have introduced me to manhood but would have continued annually to ensure that my manly virtues were upheld.

A certain island dictator, who was also born on Friday the 13th, embraces a different present-getting strategy. He refuses to celebrate on a specific day, but instead gets a present every day. This is perhaps a logical choice, and one that is more profitable overall, but with each of his 365 presents costing only about $1.87US., I prefer one yearly present as I have become addicted to the annual release of endorphins that come with a single high pricetag.

So I continue with the pursuit of birthdays on Friday the 13th, despite the well-documented downsides to the date: increased traffic fatalities, massive loss of national productivity, encouragement of horror franchises, the beginning of the end of the Knights Templar, etc.

If you find you are afflicted with paraskavedekatriaphobia, and dread the day, there are many suggested cures: focusing on making your own luck, taking action to feel in control, or not looking at a calendar. I suggest getting a pile of gifts on one out of every twelve or so Friday the 13ths. It works for me.

Leave a Reply