APRIL 28th, 2016
By LANA CARBON
When I was just a wee lad, part of our testing in kindergarten was to determine how well we could count. We started out counting to ten and then from ten back down to one. I did this accurately and extremely quickly… faster than anyone else in the class, in fact. You may be asking yourself why, exactly, I am telling you this. No, it isn’t to brag about being a numerical wunderkind (did I really just say that?) but to simply point out how ingrained the act of counting to ten and back to one was in my household.
My family was not a highly religious lot; nor were they convinced of the paranormal (other than myself). I won’t say that these things were completely out of the realm of possibility for them but they would not claim to be believers. One topic that was not to be tempted however, was that of superstitions. Ma Carbon would never allow such a thing.
How often did we sit for a meal and I accidentally knocked over the salt shaker and was told I had to throw some over my left shoulder? If we had perhaps dropped a piece of silverware, we always knew that a guest would soon be coming our way (not that I ever remember anyone actually showing up). We were also not allowed to sing at the table, whether it was mealtime or not. When we asked why we couldn’t sing, the only reasoning we ever received was that it was bad luck. We did have our chance at good fortune too; if we managed to sip up the bubbles from our tea before they could reach the rim of the cup… that meant that money was coming our way (not drinking tea = broke).
It wasn’t just at the table where we had to watch our actions. No, no, no… There were the more infamous situations to avoid such as walking under a ladder, opening an umbrella indoors and (the granddaddy of them all) breaking a mirror. Yes, almost everyone has heard of these unlucky situations…but it didn’t end there.
I am quite fond of holding hands. If you ever were to see John and I, there is an incredibly high possibility that we would be holding hands. Even this loving gesture has its risks. Apparently, should we dare to interlock our fingers, we would be tempting the Fates into causing a fight between us. It hasn’t happened yet but perhaps it is all building up into a doozy. I should probably just apologize now, in advance. (John doesn’t consider herself superstitious but she just told me that I’ve gone and jinxed us now).
Speaking of hands… make sure you take note the next time your hand begins to itch. If it is your right hand, then you will soon be receiving some money but if it is your left hand, you are about to lose your hard earned cash. The link between itches and superstition doesn’t end there, either. Quickly get rid of that itch on your nose because that means you are about to kiss a fool. Ha! No wonder John is always scratching her nose.
What, you may ask, does all of this have to do with counting? Let me answer by asking another question. Have you ever grabbed a shirt and, while rushing, accidentally put it on backwards or inside out? Have you ever rushed out the door only to realize that you had forgotten something and been forced to go back to get it? Did you know that these, too, are examples of bad luck and the only way to counteract the inevitable is to count to ten and then backwards from ten to one? As a forgetful person, I did a lot of counting in my younger days.
Even being raised in a superstitious household (well with a superstitious mother at least), I don’t have much faith in these old beliefs. If a black cat crosses my path, the only bad luck is that it wouldn’t come over for me to pet it. I have killed my fair share of spiders and not once did it suddenly start to rain. When I’m walking down the sidewalk and I see a crack, I just keep walking… okay maybe I step over the crack. Sometimes you can’t be too careful. My point is that, so far, nothing bad has happened as a result of ignoring an old superstition and I doubt it ever will… knock on wood!