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Wednesday, September 11, 2013
Friday is Friday the 13th !
I scheduled a meeting with our builder for Friday, and then an important business related phone call for Friday. I was looking forward to Friday, and then I realized that it was Friday the 13th ! I am not particularly superstitious, but long ago I decided not to transact any real business on a Friday the 13th. I didn't believe in it at all, until high school when my purse was stolen from my "apprenticeship job" in the nurses office. I didn't have any money to speak of, but it was a nice leather bag, and it had all the make up I owned, which is an absolute tragedy for a teenager. This was my first personal encounter with a Friday the 13th. I had one a few years later when I forgot my wallet in a sporting goods store, money and all, also on a Friday the 13th. I came back later, and everything was there. I drew the line in my twenties when on Friday the 13th I rejected the license plate the new car dealer gave me, and I promptly traded it in at DMV for one that did not say 666 on it. Buying my car on Friday the 13th AND getting a license plate that said 666 was just too much unsettling risk while driving a car, the most dangerous thing most people do anyway.
About ten years ago, one of my sons needed a really serious elective surgery. We were lucky we were able to get a very highly regarded surgeon at the University of Virginia to do it. He was also a nice man who took a lot of time making sure my son understood the surgery and its aftermath. The physician scheduled it for a few days later, which would have been Friday the 13th ! I told him, "No. I might have a surgery myself on Friday the 13th but there is no way I can wait for five hours of surgery on one of my kids on Friday the 13th. The surgeon laughed and said he was just going to have to play golf that day, and three other patients couldn't commit to a major surgery on Friday the 13th either. The surgery was done on a sixteenth and all went fairly well.
These are a few of the things which have happened over the ages on Friday the 13th.
They are obtained from:
1. Oct. 13, 1307 – Officers of King Philip IV of France raided the homes of the Knights Templar, who were warrior monks during the Crusades, imprisoning several thousand men on charges of illegal activities. None of these charges were proven, but hundreds suffered excruciating torture intended to force confessions, and more than a hundred died, according to "Tales of the Knights Templar" (Warner Books, 1995).
2. Aug. 13, 1521– Conquistador Hernán Cortés captured Cuauhtémoc, the ruler of Tenochtitlán, claiming the city for Spain and marking the end of the Aztec Empire. Cortés appointed himself the new ruler and renamed it Mexico City, according to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
3. Nov. 13, 1789 - Benjamin Franklin wrote “Everything appears to promise that it will last; but in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes,” according to U.S. government documents.
4. Sept. 13, 1940 – Five German bombs hit Buckingham Palace and destroyed the Palace Chapel, as part of Hitler's strategic "Blitz" bombing campaign, according to reports from U.K. newspaper The Guardian.
5. June 13, 1952 – A Swedish military DC-3 plane carrying a crew of eight disappeared over international water in the Baltic Sea. This became known as the "Catalina affair" because one of two Catalina rescue planes sent to search for the plane was attacked by Soviet forces. In 1991, the Soviet air force admitted that it had shot down the DC-3 as well, according to the BBC.
6. July 13, 1956 – The United States and Britain turned down Indian and Yugoslavian pleas to stop atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons, according to The New York Times.
7. Nov. 13, 1970 – A huge South Asian storm killed an estimated 300,000 people in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and create floods that killed as many as 1 million in the Ganges delta.
8. June 13, 1986 – The Olsen twins, Mary-Kate and Ashley, were born.
9. Jan. 13, 1989 – The "Friday the 13th virus" infected hundreds of IBM computers across Great Britain, wiping out program files and causing considerable anxiety at a time when large-scale computer viruses were a relatively new threat.
10. Oct. 13, 1989 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average underwent the second largest drop it had ever experienced at that time. Nicknamed the Friday-the-13th mini-crash, the Dow dropped 190.58 points that day. Today, that drop doesn't even make the top 10 list of largest drops.
11. March 13, 2009 – "SAW – The Ride" premiered at Thorpe Park amusement park in England, only to be temporarily shut down due to "minor teething problems" according to UK news reports.
12. Aug. 13, 1999 – The day would have been Alfred Hitchcock's 100th birthday.
This week, my son (who had the surgery some ten years ago now) reminded me that one of his friends is getting married on Friday the 13th. I have decided to honor both of my commitments and have the meetings I have already scheduled, on Friday the 13th. Perhaps I can avoid anything contractual until another day !
Hope the rest of you have a blessed day, whether it's a Friday the 13th, a Thursday the 12th, or a September the 11th. I try to remember that the world's worst days for some work out to be the most glorious days for others. I try not to focus too hard on the anniversaries of genuine tragedies in my own life. My youngest son died at 12 on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and yet I remember his smiling face every day trying not to focus too hard one the one terrible day we endured together. Each moment and each day has potential. The potential for achievement, joy, happiness, and creativity rests in each day, regardless of its number on the calendar.