It’s Friday, and this month we just missed having another 24 hours of facing Friday the thirteenth. However, don’t get too comfortable. In December it comes up again.
What is it about the number thirteen which causes otherwise stable, intelligent people to suffer from triskaidekaphobia, i.e. fear of that number? It must be something about the combination of one and three, because individually they don’t foster each one-half of an equivalent amount of trepidation.
The number one? How about, I’m the number one person in my life, or we’re (a group) number one, or being first in line, etc.? Aspiring to be a number one type of person or organization is usually considered admirable and profitable, suitable for leadership. Aside from potential ego or self-aggrandizement issues there do not seem to be social downsides to association with this number.
How about the number three? Triumvirates, the Holy Trinity, the three non-black colours used in printing, and so on, there are many historical or practical triples – the ‘triple play’ in baseball is one of sports’ most exciting happenings. On the other hand, of course, sometimes ‘three’s a crowd’. O.K., it’s not a number as revered as one, but it’s not an anathema either.
But, put one and three together? If we look historically, there are numerous legends in which the thirteenth member of an assembly is looked upon as negative, but sometimes as positive. In numerology, the numbers individually tend to be harbingers of positive traits or events, i.e. beginnings and solidarity, completions and order. Moreover, if the numbers are added together, they produce the number four – which, when added to its lead-up numbers adds to ten, considered to represent a powerful, progressive force.
Nevertheless, for many the prospect of facing the combined number is daunting, and some will avoid it entirely if possible. Amazingly, there remain many buildings which theoretically don’t have a thirteenth floor. On the other hand, many professional athletes wear the number on their jerseys (on the part which doesn’t display advertising) and are quite successful.
So there you have it. Excuse me, I have to find my lucky rabbit’s foot in time for December.