If someone were to ask, I’d say I’m not a superstitious person. I will open an umbrella inside with no qualms, and a black cat crosses my path every day (and cuddles me every night). But if I examine the facts I have to admit I might be a wee little bit superstitious. I would qualify superstition as anything you do or believe that has magical, non-scientific reasons for its effectiveness like, oh, these three things:
1) Crossing my fingers for good luck
As a web developer I frequently have to test a web site after I’ve made changes to it. When I’ve made a tricky edit that I’m not completely sure will work, I always, always, ALWAYS, cross my fingers on both hands after I press the refresh button in the browser. I keep them crossed for the 10, 20, 30 or however many seconds the page takes to load and my fate is revealed in HTML destiny. Rationally I know that all this does is make it harder for me to use my keyboard and mouse. Irrationally, I feel like it gives me good juju and will help magically fix any coding errors that previously existed on the page.
2) Knocking on wood
You’re supposed to knock on wood to prevent jinxing yourself if you say something that tempts fate. So if I were to say, “Thank goodness I’ve never been eaten by a pack of wild dogs,” I would follow that up with, “Knock on wood!” to prevent myself from meeting that fate simply by bragging about the fact that it’s never happened. If there’s wood in the room, I will actually knock on it, but if no wood is available I just say the words. Obviously, this is completely insane. If I could summon a pack of wild dogs simply by mentioning them, my enemies would be far more scared of me.
3) Burying a statue of St. Joseph in the yard to sell a house
I have never owned a house or sold one, but if I had to I would definitely bury a St. Joseph statue in the yard. According to Snopes there are several theories on how this practice started. I’ve always thought of it as a Catholic thing, but I think it could work for anyone. There is a lot of debate about whether you should bury the statue in the front yard or the back yard and if St. Joseph should be right-side up, upside down, or on his back pointing at something. I don’t know how or where I’d bury St. Joe, but I would do it. Apparently a lot of people feel the same way because there is an entire St. Joseph Home Sales Kit available online.
Of all my superstitions I realize this one is the most absurd because it’s so labor-intensive. It doesn’t take much time or effort to cross your fingers or knock on wood, but this task requires you to buy something and then go dig up your yard. Selling your house has a lot more to do with the current market conditions and whether your house smells like freshly-baked cookies than it does with whether or not you have a plastic statue hidden in the dirt outside. Yet, when a friend of mine mentioned that her house had been on the market for several months my first question was, “Have you buried a St. Joseph statue in the yard?” She hasn’t, and the rational part of my brain knows that her real estate problems have nothing to do with the lack of a plastic statue in her yard, but the other part of my brain really thinks she should try it. I will cut her some slack though because it’s harder to dig up your yard when there’s two feet of snow on the ground like there has been all winter.
So what about you? Do you have any superstitions you know are ridiculous but feel compelled to take part in anyway?