“What we don’t understand we can make mean anything”
Published: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 11:10
I don’t know about you, but I grew up being taught many things aside from the typical, “don’t talk to strangers”, “never chew with your mouth open” and “say please and thank-you”- I was also taught never to put my shoes on the table, to never open an umbrella inside of the house and to be weary if a black cat crossed my path. So, as you can imagine, the day I accidentally dropped and broke my Barbie vanity and shattered the mirror was pretty traumatic for me. Seven years of bad luck? I looked forward to nothing more than turning 14 years old when my streak of bad luck would end. Oh, the paranoia that plagued my childhood, all because of superstitions that were passed down from generations before me.
Though eventually I had a black cat, which put to rest much of my superstitious paranoia since it crossed my path about a million times without misfortune occurring, I still to this day raise my feet when driving over train-tracks. Why? Because my mother is a superstitious nutcase and apparently so am I.
Superstitions are commonly held beliefs or practices that stem from ignorance, fear of the unknown, trust in magic or chance or a false conception of causation. They cannot be justified, nor can they be proven. For instance, I am willing to bet that you step on several cracks a day and yet your mother has wonderful posture, no thanks to a chiropractor.
It is crazy how we accept such absurd beliefs without thinking logically about them. Soon enough, they just become second nature. No one in my family even questions it when my Grandma throws salt over her shoulder – all it means is that she is warding off the evil spirits who are apparently there watching her make lasagna. I mean, it would explain why she makes such large quantities of everything.
Though I do not know why one would walk underneath a ladder, generally it is avoided at all costs because lord knows it would bring about terrible luck. Yet, if you find a four-leaf clover then you can breathe easy because you just stumbled upon good fortune. Really? Said who? If you think about who tells you these things, you will quickly realize that our sources are pretty lackluster.
Nevertheless, we hold on to these beliefs and practices somewhere in our minds and ensure that we go about them the right way. You should start asking yourself how superstitious you are and try to pinpoint the things that you do or avoid doing because of the paranoia that exists within. You may surprise yourself by how much you relate to the superstitious souls in this article.
“I will never go out when there is a full moon because strange things will happen. And if for some reason I have to go out, I become incredibly aware of my surroundings. I also knock on wood for everything, else whatever I don’t want to have come true will and vice versa,” said Michele Scalzo, St. Catharines resident.
After researching the subject of commonly known superstitions a little more extensively, I have come to learn that there is no fixed belief for every single person. Rather, new meaning continues to be applied throughout the years, which goes to show how ridiculous the entire concept of superstition actually is.
While you may believe that putting shoes on the table will bring you bad luck, others believe that doing this will forever make your feet hurt or even make one unable to have children.
“My late grandmother always used to tell me to never put new shoes or a new hat on a table, otherwise you would become pregnant or victim of terrible luck,” said Carie Ann Letourneau.
I rest my case.
As human beings, we are the masters of making something out of nothing. Author Chuck Palahniuk has been quoted saying, “What we don’t understand we can make mean anything”, and that is completely the case at hand. Half of the time we cause ourselves a significant amount of unnecessary stress by believing or fearing certain things that we hear of that are not even true.
“I used to be terrified as a kid because my older brother used to tell me that if the opening of my pillow cases were facing the door or window that evil spirits would be able to slip in. I made a nightly ritual out of checking which way my pillow cases were facing for years,” said Spencer Tulgam.
“I once had this babysitter who told me that if I ate raw noodles they would turn into worms in my stomach. I never ate Mr. Noodle packages again. And, in retrospect, my classmates must have thought I was absolutely insane because I would warn them all of this too whenever someone brought Mr. Noodles for lunch,” said Lindsay Berkhout.
“In Korea there is a superstition that you will die from hypothermia or asphyxiation by leaving a fan on in a closed room. Needless to say, there will be none of that during my time spent here,” said Jordan Wilbur.
“My mom believes that the first guest to enter one’s home after New Years must have dark hair, otherwise you’re in for a year of bad luck,” said Will Crothers.
“A lady at work once opened her umbrella up inside and I was so afraid of catching her bad luck! If it didn’t get her it would surely get me since I was standing only feet away from her,” said Michele Scalzo.
This may not be news to some, but the majority of hotels do not actually have a labeled thirteenth floor. You will not find a 13 button on the panel in an elevator because it is often called something else. Likewise, many airlines omit a thirteenth row in regards to seating and cruise ships eliminate a thirteenth deck. Why? Because of superstition and fear of losing customers who may be incredibly superstitious. However, just because it is not called the thirteenth floor, row or deck, it does not mean that technically that is not what it is. We just like the idea of peace of mind.
If we stopped believing in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, I do not know how we have not been able to stop believing that Friday the 13th is a horrific day or that if you find a penny that is facing heads up you will have luck grace your entire day. The last time I checked, any day can be terrible and this past Friday the 13th came and went without tragedy striking. Also, pennies are quite useless no matter what side is facing up, yet we make a habit out of letting a single cent dictate our day.