Sunday Scribblings — Superstition

2 Mar

My Thoughts on Superstition

Last night, I watched the probably-not-very-good new TV show, “Are you smarter than a 5th Grader?” As an elementary school teacher, I find it irresistible. (And, thankfully, there are very few of the questions that I haven’t known the answer to — phew!) I found myself laughing at the grown man who stood with his fingers crossed whispering, “Please, please, please” while waiting for the answer to come up. The host, Jeff Foxworthy, was laughing at him for it and he said, “Hey, I need it!”

Last year, my students were all worked up about Friday the 13th. We had a long discussion about superstition. One would expect a room full of 4th graders to have lots of superstitions — and they did. When we talked about superstitions that adults have, the students were very surprised. When I hear a contestant on American Idol say that he always wears his “lucky underwear” when he sings, I just laughed out loud. Yes, that’s what’s going to make all the difference. You’d be such a loser without your lucky underwear.

And, yet, I see superstition incorporated in my own life too. Sometimes it’s a silly little thing. When my husband is watching sports and I come into watch and they suddenly start doing badly, I will leave the room again. Clearly, I was bringing them bad luck. (The fact that I will even do this when he has TiVOed a game should not in anyway reflect my lack of interest in football as a possible alternate reason for my leaving the room.) But, we do it for large things as well. Making sure that we kiss each other goodbye before we part is superstition. It wards off the fear that something will happen while we are apart and we won’t see each other again. That’s a pretty deep seated fear.

I try to live a life of reason and passion. I try not to be overly superstitious. I do not toss spilled salt over my left shoulder. I only avoid walking under ladders to avoid having something dropped on my head. I do not mind when black cats cross my path unless they are stalking my bird feeders. I do not carry a lucky rabbits foot. I do, however, work hard to avoid having regrets — I try to do the right thing at the right time. I try to say the “I love you” with words and with deeds. Each time could be the last time so do it right the first time.


PS. I can’t believe that I have a White Snake song in my head now. I wanna superstitious woman . . . and she got a superstitious mind . . . and I don’t mind. Sigh. It’ll be there all day.

For more thoughts on superstition, visit Sunday Scribblings.

All content written by Liza Lee Miller.
© 2007, Liza Lee Miller. All Rights Reserved.


15 Responses to “Sunday Scribblings — Superstition”

  1. Kamsin 2 March, 2007 at 11:03 am #

    I guess superstitions can allow us the illusion we have a little bit of control over the universe. I agree with what you say, it’s better to try to make the most of now, rather than trusting to some little ritual to make things all ok. I still cross my fingers when I want something to work out though, although like you I don’t throw salt over my shoulder!

  2. sundaycynce 2 March, 2007 at 3:43 pm #

    I absolutely hate reality shows because my daughter is a well trained and talented actress who cannot find work because of all the untrained ordinary folk who are willing to essentially “make fools of themselves for the world to see” for that one chance for a prize or jackpot. But that is a soapbox I will not subject you to any further. That is a preface to my saying that as a school teacher and as an appalled but fascinated lover of Jay Leno’s “Jay Walking,” I too was sorely tempted to watch the new show you mentioned. I missed it on the TV log so didn’t end up torturing myself about whether to watch it or not.

    But I really agree with you about the “lucky underwear” thing, altho I know those who believe in such. And I too have come into a room when a ball game I cared about was on TV and had the feeling that if my team suddenly did much better, I really shouldn’t leave the room; and contrarily, that if they suddenly did worse, I should go immediately.

    We are all funny about superstitions. But,the being sure your loved ones know without doubt you love them, before you go your separate ways of a day and before you sleep at night, I don’t even consider that superstition. That just makes good sense to me. I have seen enough people who did not and had horrible guilt as well as grief to overcome when a loved one was lost suddenly and unexpectedly. That one just makes good sense. It fits into a life of reason.

  3. Janie Hickok Siess, Esq. 2 March, 2007 at 7:32 pm #

    “I try to say the “I love you” with words and with deeds. Each time could be the last time so do it right the first time.” Sounds to me like all the superstition you’ll ever need!

  4. Inconsequential 2 March, 2007 at 10:15 pm #

    well, until I read this I was sure I had rid myself of all dumb ideas such as cats and ladders and salt etc, but if it counts as superstition, the kiss thing, we both have to do that, even if I go to the shop across the road…

    hmmm, thought about it, decided it’s not superstition, it’s love.
    when we no longer love each of we’ll stop.

  5. Speedy Chick 3 March, 2007 at 3:52 am #

    It is true. A lot of the superstions we follow are for common sense. It would be nice to know where some of them came from. My Grandmother believed if she heard 3 knocks at the door that someone had died. I wonder if that was maybe the standard amout of knocks for an officer to use if he had bad news to bear. Who knows they had to come about for some reason.

    Great Post:o)

  6. Colorful Prose 3 March, 2007 at 5:39 am #

    I like the way you turned the idea of superstition that keeps you from doing certain things into a thirst for life and to seize the day!

  7. paris parfait 3 March, 2007 at 5:59 am #

    For me, it’s the Stevie Wonder song “Superstition” that I keep hearing. As for your “superstition” about always kissing your husband goodbye, we have the same ritual. I also never have a phone conversation with my daughter without telling her I love her. You’re right, it’s a deep-rooted fear (that it might be the last time).

    As for reality shows, those are on the wan in Europe. I don’t watch them anymore.

  8. Regina Clare Jane 3 March, 2007 at 9:48 am #

    Kissing hubby before he leaves is an absolute must! But I don’t think it’s fear anymore that makes me do that- it’s just I love to kiss him! I don’t want to “invite” as they say, anything by thinking negatively!

  9. Tammy 3 March, 2007 at 3:34 pm #

    LOL I watched that 5th grader show and my husband and I are hooked on it. We didn’t know alot of the answers (shame,shame).

    The guy on Idol with the lucky barefeet got booted on the first show 🙂

    Kisses are great, football, not so much!

  10. jillypoet 3 March, 2007 at 7:54 pm #

    My husband and I used to kiss every night, until we had children, now we’re too tired or helping someone else get to sleep. You’ve got me thinking that we should reinstate this practice. And, your piece made me think, maybe superstition is just the deep rooted wish that everything will be OK. We just all have our various ways of bringing it to pass.

  11. Autrice DelDrago 4 March, 2007 at 12:29 am #

    Oh my goodness!

    “When my husband is watching sports and I come into watch and they suddenly start doing badly, I will leave the room again. Clearly, I was bringing them bad luck.”

    I can relate to that. There are days my husband comes into the room and a sporting event goes sour!

  12. Remiman 5 March, 2007 at 12:50 am #

    It sounds to me like you have a sound attitude about superstitions.
    I do find it curious to witness some folks behaviors in this regard.

  13. sarala 5 March, 2007 at 5:40 pm #

    Rabbit’s feet always amazed me. How can it be good luck to chop off the foot of a small furry mammal?

  14. gautami tripathy 6 March, 2007 at 6:55 am #

    What I feel is that superstitions cocoon us. We have a feeling of security following those.

    I too played that song by Whitesnake today.

  15. Gel(emerald eyes) 7 March, 2007 at 2:06 am #

    Hi LL,
    Thoroughly enjoyed this post. I think we all incorporate some level of superstition into our lives, perhaps as traditions which has a more positive connotation to me. What do you think?
    Being musically appreciative, oh YES, I thought of that song, too.

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