Maybe because it’s the eleventh month in the year two thousand and eleven or maybe because this past November eleventh (11-11-11) seemed like a big deal because of all the ones in a row, but lately I glance at the clock every time it is eleven minutes after eleven. I’m not kidding; I’ve been doing it all month. It’s spooky. What I didn’t realize (until reading it online) is that I’m supposed to make a wish every time that happens. Damn! I’ve missed a lot of good wishing opportunities. Apparently it’s a known superstition. I don’t know who started it, or when, or why, but count me in. I love a good superstition.
The other day I walked past a little girl who was obviously avoiding the cracks in the pavement. A few minutes later a young boy went by me with his head down while he concentrated on carefully leaping from one un-cracked portion to another.
“Step on a crack, break your mother’s back” dates to at least 1905.
“Step on a nail, put your father in jail” dates to at least 1925.
“Step in a hole, you’ll break your mother’s sugar bowl” dates to around 1933.
“Step on a line, you break your mother’s spine” dates to at least 1936.
“Step in a ditch, your mother’s nose will itch” dates to at least 1962.
Wow, these superstitions are powerful enough to stand the test of time. Kids have been avoiding cracks in pavement for generations. I still do it myself. Not sure why our poor moms tended to take the brunt though.
I still seriously try to blow all of my birthday candles out in one breath so my wish will come true and I can’t tell you what that wish is… or it wont come true.
I still save and dry wish bones (see I don’t even know their real name). Silent wishes are made and then we pull the bone apart using our pinkie fingers only. Person left holding the longest section gets their wish granted. That’s actually how I ended up with John 😉
I still knock on wood, avoid walking under a ladder, been known to throw salt over my shoulder if I’ve knocked the shaker over, and a black cat crossing my path will still send a shiver down my spine.
I’m not completely out of control though; I don’t always hold my breath while driving past a cemetery or feel the need to lift my feet while driving across a bridge. My dad always honked the car horn when driving through tunnels. I don’t. Also, I don’t completely freak out if I break a mirror because I know it will all be ok if I just bury the shards in my backyard while illuminated by the moon light.
There is one superstition that makes me giggle and flinch at the same time. The old punch buggy routine.