Years ago I boasted to a co-worker that any reporter worthy of the name should be able to take another’s notes and write an article from them.
Not only that but the reader shouldn’t detect the writer never interviewed the subject.
And I guess I was feeling pretty confident because then I said I could write an entire article about a single word of my co-worker’s choosing.
The word my friend Mitch gave me was one I’d never heard of and had to look up to be sure he wasn’t pulling my leg with a made-up word.
“Fine,” he told me. “Here’s your word – triskaidekaphobia.”
I will save you the trip to the dictionary.
Yes, it is a real word and it means fear of the number 13.
Because I know many of you are superstitious about such things, I’ll just point out that Friday is the first Friday the 13th of 2019.
And we’ll have another in December.
I should also point out that if you are antsy about Friday the 13th, you are suffering from paraskevidekatriaphobia, which is not to be confused with the all-encompassing triskaidekaphobia.
The numeral 13 hasn’t always been maligned or feared.
Some have attributed its tarnished reputation and association with bad luck with the medieval belief there were 13 at the Last Supper.
There’s also the Nordic tale of Odin inviting 11 of his nearest and dearest friends to dinner at Valhalla. But then Loki, the Norse god of turmoil and evil, crashed the gathering where he slew the beloved god, Balder, with a mistletoe-tipped arrow.
But how we went from that to high rise buildings and elevators skipping the 13th floor is beyond me.