Are you aware?
Ever notice there seem to be a lot of unusual observance days, weeks and months? I’ll bet you weren’t aware that you were so unaware of your awareness.
Besides bringing attention to diseases, social causes and ethnic groups, the observances bring the mundane to the masses and the extraordinary to the extra-bored-in-need-of-a-reason-to-celebrate-something.
There is no overseeing bureaucracy to regulate what gets named national this or that month. And the benefits include promotion of your business or industry. So in that vein of vanity, I declare this to be the week, no, month, no, year of the Winslow Mail and Reminder. Of course, if you’re reading this, the self-promotion of my work is a success. I’ll bet you weren’t aware of that.
May is also Creative Beginnings Month, Get Caught Reading Month, Awareness of Medical Orphans Month, More Than Just A Pretty Face Month, National Barbecue Month, National Bike Month, National Correct Posture Month, National Hamburger Month, National Older Americans Month, National Salsa Month, National Revise Your Work Schedule Month, Pilates Awareness Month and Prepare to Buy A Home Month.
This week is National Police Week, National Etiquette Week, National New Friends, Old Friends Week, National Dog Bite Prevention Week and National Effectiveness Week (16-20).
Did you spend last Friday, May 13, hiding under the covers so nothing bad could happen to you? If so, chances are you’re one of 17 to 21 million Americans suffering from paraskevidekatriaphobia — the blinding fear of Friday the 13th. And if you also suffer from a multiple personality disorder, chances are you’re two of the 17 to 21 million Americans with the fear.
But if you’re like me and you don’t suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia, rather you revel in it, then maybe like me you smashed a bunch of mirrors, chased black cats under ladders and launched ships for the U.S. Navy on Friday.
But take heart paraskevidekatriaphobics, last Friday was the only Friday the 13th this year. The next is in January 2006. That’s good news for the economy. Experts who study these kinds of random statistics report more than $800 million is lost on Fridays the 13th due to people’s fear of leaving the house.
No one really knows when Friday the 13th became such a feared day. In some cultures, it’s just like any other day. However, throughout history, the number 13 and the day of Friday appear to be negative so often that the two just came together, like peanut butter and chocolate, but in a bad way.
Twelve is considered to be a good, complete number —12 months of the year with 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 tribes of Israel and 12 apostles of Jesus (but 13 people at the Last Supper and one was a lousy guest.)
Triskaidekaphobia, or the fear of the number 13, has caused people on the 13th floor of a building to wonder why the elevator never stops there or tourists in Florence, Italy to ponder why the buildings are numbered 12, 12 1/2 and 14.
Americans seem to have less of a fear of Fridays. After all, it’s the start of the weekend; offices have casual Fridays; and the restaurant chain TGI Friday’s does brisk business any day of the week.
So really, the only thing we have to fear is spelling paraskevidekatriaphobia to win the Spelling Bee. But if you’re still afraid of anything associated with the number 13, you might want to turn the page. This is the 13th paragraph of my 13th column. In retrospect, I too should have stopped at 12.
No trophy, no cry
Finally, a huge congratulations to the Winslow High School track and baseball teams on their impressive runs at state titles last weekend.
It can seem like a big disappointment to get so close to a championship and not win it. The loss can gnaw at your innards for the rest of your life as you relive one moment over and over again.
But it’s important, especially for the seniors, to not look at how close you came, but how far you’ve come.
Hopefully, you can see where you started from as freshmen and realize the tremendous strides you made over four years.
For the juniors and under classmen, this season should be a learning experience. Now you are one step closer to understanding what it takes to be a champion.
Seize on the positives. There may be one or two teams that played better than you did, but there’s a whole lot more that wish they had just a chance to prove themselves on the big stage.
And there is always next season.