Triple whammy today terrifies triskaidekaphobians

September 13, 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013

Good morning:

So, you wanna know what the hell is a triskaidekaphobian?

Professors are known by their extremely annoying habit of answering a question with another question.

In what sense can a thing be said to exist if a spell checker does not recognize it?

Allow me to cut to the chase.

A triskaidekaphobian is a person who fears the number 13.

Stuart Vyse is a professor of psychology at Connecticut College in New London. He casts some light on the subject in National Geographic:

The trepidation surrounding Friday the 13th is rooted in religious beliefs surrounding the 13th guest at the Last Supper-Judas, the apostle said to have betrayed Jesus-and the crucifixion of Jesus on a Friday, which was known as hangman’s day and was already a source of anxiety, Vyse said.

The two fears merged, resulting “in this sort of double whammy of 13 falling on an already nervous day,” he said.

As if that were not sufficiently upsetting to get you to reach for your anti-anxiety medication of choice, we are trundling on through the year 2013, which hasn’t exactly provided much cause for joyous celebration, unless you are a racist bigot and George Zimmerman is your hero.

What do you do, if you are afraid to get out of bed?

On Friday the 13th, some people are so crippled by fear that they lock themselves inside; others will have no choice but to grit their teeth and nervously muster through the day.

Nevertheless, many people will refuse to fly, buy a house, or act on a hot stock tip, inactions that noticeably slow economic activity, according to Donald Dossey, a folklore historian and founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, North Carolina. (Read about animal phobias.)

“It’s been estimated that [U.S.] $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day because people will not fly or do business they normally would do,” he said.

To overcome the fear, Vyse said, people should take small steps outside their comfort zone. Those who are afraid to leave the house could consider meeting a close friend at a cozy cafe, for example.

“Try some small thing that they would be reluctant to do under normal circumstances and gradually experience, hopefully, no horrible thing happen when they push through and carry on,” he said.

Due to my rebellious nature, I like the number 13.

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