Mercifully, I survived Friday 13th without any discernible misfortune. In fact I’d proffer with some contentment that, except from slightly overcooking the oven chips and a rare bout of writers block, GJ Strachan’s Friday 13th March was, in the inimitable words of Bertie Wooster, tinkety tonk.

If truth be told, my exposure to paraskevidekatriaphobic tales were few and far between. Instead of dwelling on a superstition claiming back luck chances were heightened by a numerical and day juncture in the calendar, Joe and Josephine Public’s angst was instead focussed on the global fallout from COVID-19 virus.

Footnote – For the uninitiated, paraskevidekatriaphobia is an affliction borne by individuals apprehensive of becoming victim of misfortune on any Friday 13th. Emotional support for this anxiety is available from the splendidly named Paraskevidekatriaphobia Anxiety, Nattering & Indecision Committee (PANIC). A group whose club motif bears a Jason Voorhees hockey mask crossed by two chainsaws. 

Some may argue the nature of the continued health and logistics carnage brought forth by the coronavirus made yesterdays Friday 13th one of the least serendipitous of any previous day bearing that date prefix. However, as the fallout from COVID-19 has been occurring for many weeks, and will do so over many more, this is one particular lack of fortuity which can’t be pinned at paraskevidekatria’s door.

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I’ve never been one to pay much mind to superstitions generationally passed down through folklore. From a personal perspective, I’ve managed to unearth misfortune quite easily on most day/date combinations, thank you very much. My branch of the Strachan clan living by the mantra ‘13 Quare adversus Veneris usque ad atrium opem?‘. Which translates from Latin to English as ‘Why wait for Friday 13th to court calamity?‘.

From my lifetime experiences, these adages passed through folklore are at best pretty sketchy accuracy wise. At their worst, they’re old wives advocacies bearing little, if any, basis in fact. Incidentally, I’d like to make it clear this polemic is relayed more out of mischief than genuine cynicism towards folklore musings.

On the contrary, I find the more outlandish advocacies from around the cauldron to be endearingly funny. Advice such as “If you see a sparrow after 6pm, you’ll suffer from ear ache for three days/nights!”; “If you see a robin red breast after 6pm, you’ll suffer from a sore throat for there day/nights!“; and “For the sake of your health don’t practise ornithology after 6pm. Seek a more interesting evening pastime!

Quite clearly, that trio of old wives tales don’t exist (as far as I’m aware, anyhow!). These mischievous fictional notions merely included as I’m currently bereft of examples relaying the more ludicrous of these handed down superstitions.

However, in candour, despite all this anti-superstition bravado above, it’s worth noting I’m penning the polemic on Saturday 14th March. When analysing my motives for not writing these sneering observations about folklore yesterday, I’ve concluded I wouldn’t have  posted them on Friday 13th for fear of reprisals from fate!

Consequently, proving to myself, that on some level, I must’ve a degree of belief in their validity!…… You fraud, Strachan!!