Maybe halfway between Fort Walton and Shreveport, Jonas pipes up from the back seat with this one –
J: Dad? Mom? Why is 13 unlucky? What can make a number lucky or not lucky?
Me: Nothing. Nothing can make a number lucky or unlucky. It’s just another number.
J: Ok, but what makes people THINK that it’s unlucky?
Me: (Totally not in the mood to explain the Last Supper and Judas Iscariot right that second, driving down I-10) I don’t know, buddy. It’s just superstition. It’s been around for a long time.
J: Oh! Oh! I think I know this! It’s because there used to be 12 gods of…. Canada? Or maybe Australia? And they were all good, but then another one showed up and he was evil. The 13th god was bad, so that’s why 13 is a bad number.
Me to Joe: Canada?
Joe: Or maybe Australia?
Me: Gotta remember this for the blog.
Joe: Oh, please. The “blog?” Is that code for “the Facebook update?”
(Yes, it’s possible that the only reason you are reading this here on WordPress, instead of on FB, is so I could be right. Look! I’m right! I win again!)
Holy cow – just Googled “Why is 13 unlucky?” before publishing this. I figured it couldn’t hurt to look into this story of the evil Canadian (or maybe Australian!) god. And look what I found!
Bearing some similarity to the Christian tradition, in Norse lore, a banquet of twelve deities was interrupted by the evil god Loki, making thirteen the number of gods present when the nigh-immortal god Baldr was killed by an arrow made from mistletoe (his only weakness). His death marked the beginning of Ragnarok, the end of everything.