2006.10.25 Superstitions and dealing with my faith impairment

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

I don’t know about the rest of you, but one of my pet peeves is opening an email message from a friend and finding it to be one of those chain letters floating around the internet promising that something terrible will happen if I don’t forward it to a bunch of other people immediately. I tend to question the quality of the friendship if the other person is superstitious enough to believe the warning, but willing to pass the potential catastrophe on to me. I received an identical letter from two different people last week, which, along with a Friday the 13th experience, has me thinking about superstitions.

I made a purchase at a local store on the fourteenth and my total happened to come to $6.66. The cashier mentioned that I was lucky I hadn’t stopped in the previous day. I’d think if you believe 666 is unlucky, it wouldn’t matter if the numbers popped up on Friday the thirteenth or not. A few years ago at another store, my total came to $6.66 and the cashier immediately took ten cents off the total to get the evil trilogy of sixes off her register. That fear worked to my advantage to the tune of a whole dime.

One of my purchases on the fourteenth was a newspaper that contained an article on the NASCAR Busch Series race the previous evening. Several odd things happened during the race and one incident or another took out almost all of the top contenders.

On the final lap, the win was to be decided between star Matt Kenseth and Dave Blaney, who was winless in a nine year NASCAR career. Kenseth spun out and Blaney recorded his first NASCAR win just two weeks shy of his 44th birthday.

Some people mentioned Friday the 13th as a reason for the odd outcome, but I suspect it’s now considered a lucky day at the Blaney household.

Friday the 13th doesn’t scare me, but I do admit to a couple of superstitions. Like flu shots, for example. Back in college, I had a flu shot two years in a row and got violently ill both times. No matter how many times I hear that I should get a flu shot and that you won’t get sick from one, I refuse to believe it.

And then there’s the restaurant superstition. There’s a certain restaurant that I’ve been to a  total of three times over the last nine or ten years. Each time, I went with a different female. All three of them turned out to be... oh, I’ll be kind and just leave it at  none of them were the perfect match. But I’m extremely cautious around anyone who now mentions wanting to go to that restaurant.

But about those internet chain letters...A month or so ago, I received one asking me to add my name and address to the bottom of a message that was to be sent to President Bush. The 3000th person to sign it was asked to send it on to the White House at the email address attached.

If you weren’t willing to sign it, you were supposed to send it back to the person who sent it to you so they could send it to someone who would keep the chain alive. Instead, I disappointed over 2200 naive people and deleted the email, possibly saving them from a government investigation.

And then there were the two I just received. Both of them started off by saying that it was one of the nicest good luck forwards they have ever received, then went on to explain that it has been sent to me for good luck from the Anthony Robbins organization. You’d think motivational guru Tony Robbins would have better things to do with his time than to send emails to people he doesn’t know simply to give them good luck. Why not take the opportunity to sell me a book or seminar ticket?

Then there was the statement that the email “has been sent around the world ten times so far.” How do you prove such a statement in the first place? And wouldn’t once around the world be enough?

And finally, the threat if you break the chain—“This must leave your hands within six minutes. Otherwise you will get a very unpleasant surprise.” Don’t believe it? The message adds “this is true, even if you are not superstitious, agnostic, or otherwise faith impaired.” Faith impaired? That’s an expression I’ve never heard before. This “good luck” message from Tony Robbins is going downhill in a hurry.

I really had no choice at this point. I forwarded the first message to the second person and the second person’s message to the first. Now they’ve got six minutes to forward it to someone else. That’ll teach them to call me faith impaired.

  – Oct. 25, 2006 
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