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SuperstitionsPosted Monday, June 6, 2011, at 2:39 PM
A superstition is a belief or practice resulting from ignorance. It's also evidence that mankind hasn't exactly reached the peak of intellectual potential.
"It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue." Voltaire
Some superstitions are peculiar to a particular country.
1) In Ireland, it's considered lucky to kiss the Blarney Stone, but unlucky to spill a drink.
2) In Nigeria, it's bad luck to sweep a house at night, but a thorough sweeping in the morning gets rid of evil spirits.
3) In Japan, killing a spider in the morning results in the destruction of a human soul.
4) In Scotland, it's bad luck to stand with your back to the edge of a door, and the sight of three swans flying together is a precursor of a national disaster.
5) In Malta, church clocks have two faces, one showing the correct time and another with a false time to confuse the Devil about the time of the service.
The world of show business has its share of superstitions.
1) If an actor uses a bar of soap belonging to another actor, it's believed that some of the luck will rub off on him.
2) But if an actor leaves soap behind in the dressing room, he may never be employed again.
3) To open an umbrella or drop a comb onstage is bad luck.
4) Actors never look over the shoulder of a colleague into a mirror
5) Set designers avoid the color yellow.
6) The most egregious act occurs when someone whistles in the dressing room. Surely disaster will soon follow.
Gamblers are notorious for being superstitious.
1) They always wear their lucky ring or shirt or whatever.
2) Many will rub or blow on the dice or cards.
3) Sitting in the right chair or standing in the right spot is a must.
4) True gamblers never cross anything, including their legs, and never place a bet before 6:00 PM on Fridays.
Professional athletes, particularly baseball players, are among the most superstitious people on the planet.
1) On game day, they will eat the same meal or park in the same spot or walk the same path using the same number of steps entering the clubhouse.
2) Many baseball players will always enter the playing field in the exact same manner each time, performing personal rituals such as touching the same base or crossing a line at the same spot.
3) When batting, most baseball players will take the exact same number of practice swings while making the same gestures to help bring them luck.
Being an astute observer of human nature, I've come up with my own set of superstitions.
1) If a black cat crosses your path, it usually means the cat is going somewhere.
2) Wearing cloves of garlic around your neck will ward off evil spirits. Except for goat farmers and residents of New Jersey, it will also ward off most people.
3) Finding a four-leaf clover is good luck. It also means you have nothing better to do than crawl around outdoors on your hands and knees, gazing at clover.
4) Three men on a match is bad luck, unless you only have one match and there are three of you, or you are French Canadian.
5) A rabbit's foot is good luck, except for the rabbit.
6) If you crack a mirror, it's bad luck. If all you were doing was looking at the mirror when it cracked, it's time for some cosmetic surgery.
7) If your name is Usama and you have a towel wrapped around your head and have 4 wives and your hobby is mass murder, you will someday have unwelcome visitors from a faraway land with itchy trigger fingers drop in on you from above to remove you from this dimension and confiscate your collection of pornography.
Quote for the Day -- "The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out -- without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable." H.L. Mencken
Bret Burquest, author of four novels, has recently published THE REALITY OF THE ILLUSION OF REALITY (esoteric knowledge) and 1111 HAPPY TRAILS ROAD (humor) -- available on Amazon. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where good luck involves indoor plumbing.
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Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist for The News (2001-2007) and author of four novels. He has lived in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis and the middle of the Arizona desert. After a life of blood, sweat and tears in big cities, he has finally found peace in northern Arkansas where he grows tomatoes, watches sunsets and occasionally shares the Secrets of the Universe (and beyond) with the rest of the world.