Will Friday the 13th Curse My “Happy” Birthday?


Dedicated to all the triskaidekaphobics out there.

Not my actual foot. And definitely NOT my actual pants.

Not my actual foot. And definitely NOT my actual pants.

I’m not by nature a superstitious person. I don’t mind if black cats follow me home, I doubt my mom will end up in a full body cast if I stomp on a sidewalk crack, and although I don’t deliberately walk under ladders, if found a good reason for it – say I could pick up a penny by doing so, I might cross my fingers, stoop under the steps and nab it.

cupcake2Today is Friday the 13th of September, and it also happens to be my birthday.  These two events combined beg to question:

Is it possible to have a Happy Birthday?


Dear Jason,
Why did you ruin my birthday?
(Not) love… Cathy

When I was a kid, I didn’t really think much of this dreaded day until Hollywood began making those Friday the 13th slasher films. Starting in 1980, Friday the 13th suddenly became synonymous with the name “Jason,” hockey masks, and horny camp counselors. Not surprisingly, this franchise lasted just one film short of 13. Perhaps they’re not planning to make another, since it might be unlucky.

Cool, huh? Why didn't I learn this in school?

Cool, huh? Why didn’t I learn this in school?

If I’m even slightly nervous about my birthday falling on Friday the 13th, I could consider the 1 in 31 other people who also have a birthday on the 13th (or the 1 in 30 in September, April, June and November, or the 1 in 28 or 1 in 29… you get where I’m headed here) who most of the time live through their cursed day as well. Except, of course, the ones who do actually die.

They’re the ones that make me nervous.

This is the 8th time my birthday has fallen on Friday the 13th, and remarkably I have survived all the other attempts for bad luck to foil my celebrated day.



Tammie and me. I’m trying not to strangle her before her first birthday.

My very first birthday fell on Friday the 13th, and I should have realized then (if I was coherent enough as a toddler) that my childhood birthdays were doomed. My sister Tammie was born exactly one month before – on August the 13th – so even though I was the oldest child, I would never be able to celebrate a birthday with my parents all to myself. But Tammie got the double whammy load of bad luck since her 13th birthday fell on Friday the 13th. I’m not really sure what the bad luck was since she got the guys in high school and I didn’t, but I hope the jealous voodoo spell I cast on her brought something bad.

Tammie… if you’re reading this, I’m kidding. If you’re not reading it, then I still resent you for being thinner and getting a better tan in high school than I did.

images-7Sorry. I’m not sure what would calm that unfortunate outburst more – a good psychiatrist or a steaming caldron with a lock of Tammie’s hair.

If I’m worried about doomsday destroying my birthday this year, I suppose I could oppose the Friday the 13th curse with my own counter-spells by grasping a 4-leaf clover and a rabbit’s foot in each hand all day; however without the full use of my grip, I’m more likely to be responsible for my own bad luck by dropping my iphone, sunglasses, and car keys more often than I do already.Screen shot 2013-09-13 at 11.16.28 AM


Not actually me. But it feels like it’s actually me.

Some people fend off the Friday the 13th curse by avoiding air travel, delaying important decisions, or safest of all – staying in bed all day. Since today is also my birthday, and the present I would like most is a nap, this old superstition may be a great excuse for me to get my birthday wish without my family thinking I’m a slacker.Publication1

I don’t plan on spending my birthday hanging up horseshoes, knocking on wood, or throwing salt over my shoulder, because that would be just plain stupid.

But I think I might wait until Saturday the 14th to buy a lotto ticket.images-10



Filed under Anxiety, Holidays, Humor

17 responses to “Will Friday the 13th Curse My “Happy” Birthday?

  1. Funny, I was thinking how lucky I was to get all three kids to sign your card this morning. No arguing, nothing. They all stopped what they were doing and signed it. I’m not sure what Jake drew was even though I watched him draw it. He thought it was funny. Why is Friday the 13th the unlucky day? At least it is Friday. Monday the 13th, you still have to go to work on Tuesday.

  2. Anonymous

    Happy, Happy Birthday Cathy! 🙂 xo

  3. I love it when my bday falls on Friday the 13th!

  4. My seventh birthday feel on Friday the 13th…and so did an entire plate of hot spaghetti. I had blisters on my thighs for weeks. The kids at my party all laughed at me and I was devastated. All the other times it had landed on a Friday, I have been lucky to escape disaster.

  5. Cath, I love the bit about Tammy. You’re a stitch. It’s like sitting down and having coffee together – only you don’t have to be interrupted by by so very unlinear interjections…
    I love you!

  6. ps – Now into my second, third year of raising a tween and a teenager – both of whom have their own unique brand of funky b.o. – which I can literally tell apart from across the hall (from feet to teeth – oy veh) – I can relate to your foibles in an entirely new way. Gone is sympathy. In is empathy. I didn’t pop my kiddos out, but girl, life on 11? I live it. It definitely earns the hashtag “anxiety.” WHEW! (Sometimes I lament the choice I continue to make to remain clean and free — I am certain in these moments that a Quaalude would really take the tension down a notch or ten… sigh…)
    Good times. Good times.
    (PS: I have this rule where I “stop working” at 7. That’s going great for me. I will sign off – as soon as I sign Brandon’s revised homework – and email his teacher – and email my Doctor – and logging off now — my Fiance Kevin is calling me out! Thank God for lovers and friends….)

  7. Anonymous

    well my 18th birthday will be on Friday the 13th. :p

  8. Anonymous

    My enemy at school’s 13th birthday is today. She got a bit of bad luck, though. Like she didn’t get her exam result back for our end of term Geography test, got into serious trouble for screaming at a boy in Art, and failed her bleep test. Nothing else. She’s badly behaved anyway, and things are like this for her everyday. So I don’t think Friday 13th’s got anything to do with it.

  9. Try being born may o5/13/1999. 5 for the penticals, 13 for Friday, and the last numbers are those of Satan…. Every day feels super unlucky n not fair, and I wonder, was my bday a sign of this? Is all this bad stuff just meant to happen? Was my life meant to be a misery?

    • Miranda Nelson

      I hope that you get to read this… That is my birthday as well. And I too have had some bad luck… But I think it’s all in the mind. Fear is only control.
      My 26th birthday falls on Friday the 13th this year.
      But things always have a way of working out. And everything has a meaning. Just live and not worry… I am trying to get a hold of that thought too. (:

      • Anonymous

        My brother is born on Friday the 13 but has only had good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Anonymous

    Im turning 13 this Friday on Friday the 13th

  11. Gracey Smith

    My 13th birthday is tomorrow on Friday the 13th…

  12. Anonymous

    Long story short one year my birthday landed on friday the 13th and I had my birthday party and there was this huge snow storm and only two people came and I cried all night. I think my next Friday the 13th birthday will be 2022.

  13. Smitha Kumaraswamy


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