I believe there’s an all-powerful being and it’s out to get me. As far as I can tell, it has no other purpose. Why would it want to get me? Well, given what I am, why not? If you’re me, you can feel the universe making sense as soon as you see it this way: there’s a mouse-trap that’s bigger than anything you can know or see, and the trap wants to snap shut but it doesn’t have to. If I stay on its right side, show the proper attitude, the trap won’t bother. Hence my superstitions. They keep my nose clean.
You might expect ritual, idiosyncratic procedures. No, I fear black cats and the number 13. My superstitions are strictly off the shelf. I saw a black cat the day before I headed down to the U.S. for the election. “No,” I thought, “don’t show me that. Don’t plant the thought in my mind.” Possibly it was too late. Possibly that’s why Trump is now the chief executive. There’s no reason to think so, but I don’t need a reason. My soul will think it anyway.
Other people aren’t on the chopping block. Not people in general, anyway. Other individuals might be, here and there. If so, we share the same scattering of exceptions to the general rule. You don’t have to worry about 13, I do. On the 13th of every month, I try to stay home. I’ll do routine tasks but nothing that involves risk. For me, risk would be mixing with the work-a-day, practical world and hashing up some task there. For example, I wouldn’t do my taxes on the 13th, or even call the help line with questions. I wouldn’t call any help line. Normally I stay away from people and paperwork. On the 13th I underline this rule.
The reasons are two. I tore a sizable muscle in my hip on March 13, 2015, and that was a Friday. Then, on January 13 of last year (a Wednesday), I blew a very nice freelancing gig. You might say that a torn muscle has nothing to do with paperwork. It doesn’t, but a person talked me into the stunt that tore my muscle. If I’d stayed home and kept to myself, perhaps I’d be okay. The freelancing gig represents a sort of paperwork—it was editing, preparing documents to order and submitting them properly. It represents people too, since there was somebody waiting to size up the work.
With the torn muscle or the gig, you find me at somebody’s mercy and getting bent out of shape. That’s how I relate to people, as far as I can tell. I’m soft-nosed and easily overwhelmed. I have to guess at what will cause people to go after me or leave me alone. Spend your life thinking that way and superstition can’t be a surprise. My black cats and 13s represent the state of mind I bring to life with others. For most people those silly things have no consequences. But for me they do, because the world doesn’t like me.
—Follow C.T. May on Twitter: @CTMay3