The Thinking of Speaking
Issue #13 January / February 2015
Letter From The Editor
by Erik Zidowecki
January / February 2015 | 

This is the thirteenth issue of Parrot Time. This is significant because it means we have passed the two year mark and are still up and running. Many publications fail after just a few issues, so having our first dozen completed is a pretty important milestone.

The number thirteen, however, is considered bad luck in some countries. People go out of the way to avoid anything with a count of thirteen, including the number of people or items in a group, the day of the month, and the number of a room. Many buildings not only don't have rooms numbered thirteen, but even don't have a floor numbered thirteen. Even the group of thirteen treasure seeking dwarves in J.R.R. Tolkien's classic "The Hobbit" sought out an extra member so as not to have evil befall them. There is even a name for the fear of the number thirteen: triskaidekaphobia.

There are a few possible reasons for this belief that thirteen will bring bad luck. One is that at the Last Supper, where Jesus Christ sat with his Apostles, there were thirteen in attendance. Since one of them betrayed him, the number thirteen could be blamed.

Thirteen was certainly bad luck for the Knights Templar, who were ordered to be arrested by King Philip IV of France on Friday 13, 1307. Most of them were later tortured and killed. Friday the Thirteenth is still feared as day when terrible things will happen.

Not all countries consider thirteen to mean ill fortune. They have their own bad luck numerals. In Italy, some fear Friday the 17th, because if you rearrange the Roman numeral for it, XVII, into VIXI, you get the Latin word for "my life is over".

In China, the pronunciation of the number four is very similar to the one for death, and so many buildings in China omit the fourth floor, similar to the practice in the United States with the thirteenth floor. This also happens in Japan, where four (shi) and "death" are similar in pronunciation. This also occurs with the words for "nine" (ku) and "torture or suffering".

In Afghanistan, thirty-nine is the evil number. It is translated as "morda-gow", which literally means "dead cow". Because there was a pimp nicknamed "39" (after his license plate number), the term has become slang term for a pimp, and thus linked to prostitution.

Perhaps the most evil number comes from the Biblical "number of the beast", 666. It is believed to be the mark of the devil. I admit, even I get a little nervous when I see that number.

We hope that this issue is lucky for us, in that it represents a promise of continuation of the magazine. We also hope we don't have to worry about this again until the six-hundred and sixty-sixth issue, which should be in released in another hundred and nine years.

Erik Zidowecki

Letter From the Editor
Writer: Erik Zidowecki
paulgeor: 13 pool ball

All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.


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