How will we survive an entire year of 13?
We managed to make it through the Mayan apocalypse. Let’s see if we can survive the unluckiest year of the century.
So is 2013 a big deal?
It could be. National Geographic once estimated that on each Friday the 13th, the economy loses more than $800 million from consumers avoiding travel, moves, movies, dinner, weddings and more. Ignore triskaidekaphobia, fear of the number 13, at your own risk.
In blogs and bridal forums, anxious brides are pondering whether to get hitched in 2013 or postpone. One bride-to-be posted: “Does anyone consider it bad luck to get married when 13 is involved?”
Churches, however, say their wedding schedules are as full as ever. “We haven’t had anything slowing down around here,” said the Rev. Bill Porter of St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Overland Park, Kan.
Still, some people really do worry about 2013, said Donald Dossey, founder of the Stress Management Center/Phobia Institute in Asheville, N.C. He estimates that up to 19 million people around the world fear the number 13.
But the biggest problems, he says, will come in September and December, months with the year’s most ominous dates: Friday the 13th, 2013.
“Here we go again,” said Joe Nickell, an investigative writer for Skeptical Inquirer science magazine. “No matter how often it doesn’t come true when people gather and wait for doom, (some) people always take the bait the next time. You would think eventually they would learn.”
They don’t. What about the hundreds of hotels and buildings that choose not to have a 13th floor? Or the airports that don’t have a Gate 13?
No, this has been going on a while: Long enough for somebody to figure out that Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer and Jack the Ripper all have 13 letters in their names.
Long enough to stretch back to early Christianity (where Jesus was betrayed by Judas, the 13th guest at the Last Supper).
Long enough, even, for one researcher to discover that ancient Babylon’s Code of Hammurabi, dating to about 1772 B.C., omitted the number 13 in its list of laws.