Working today just doesn't add up for me

Maybe it's because I was a baseball player in high school.

Or maybe it's because I've watched too many scary movies. Or maybe it's because I'm a gambler.

Whatever the reason, I'm superstitious. I know it's stupid, and I usually don't want people to know it, so whenever I mention a superstition, I always follow it up with "I know it's dumb" to throw them off. "I know nothing is going to happen," I tell them.

But something will, I just know it. So I take the proper precautions.

I don't walk under ladders. If I spill salt, you better watch out behind me, because some is going over my shoulder. I don't do laundry on New Year's so I won't wash anyone out of my life. I don't hand open knives back closed - or vice versa. If I get aces and eights at poker, I fold. Well, most of the time.

Maybe I take it too far, but better safe than sorry, I say. I make the sign of the evil eye at black cats to ward off their bad luck, and I have been known to stop and go in another direction to keep from crossing their path after they've crossed mine.

When I was 8 years old, I broke a mirror in my aunt's bathroom, and the first thing I thought was "My life is ruined until I'm 15." That's a true story.

I don't give much credence to horoscopes because I think they're mostly just made up, but one time in college I read one that said "avoid sharp objects today," so I ate all my meals with a spoon. And I didn't do any whittling.

It was just a little too specific, that's all I'm saying.

The point is I'm pretty superstitious when it comes to luck. But of all the superstitions that scare me, one trumps all others. It has to do with a certain number.

This certain number falls between 12 and 14, and fear of it is called triskaidekaphobia.

Now I'm not the only one who is afraid of this number. You know all the stories about hotels skipping a floor or planes skipping a row or a seat. So obviously, I'm clearly rational in thinking that avoiding this number is prudent.

I avoid it whenever possible. I won't stop reading a book on that page or that chapter. In fact, I won't stop immediately prior or after it either. I won't sit in a seat labeled with it. I won't eat that many of anything or drink that many of anything either. If my bill at a restaurant or store ends in it, I'll leave an extra penny on the counter to thwart the evil.

Dan Marino wore it on his jersey. What'd Marino ever do to me, you ask? He just threw a touchdown pass against my alma mater that cost us a Sugar Bowl and possibly a national title, that's all. Now tell me I'm irrational.

Now if you'll check your calendars, you will see where I'm going with all this.

Specific fear of Fridays that fall on this particular day of the month, according to Wikipedia, which we all know is never wrong, is called friggatriskaidekaphobia.

Now I don't know if that's the real name for the fear of today or not, but it works for me because I'm a frigga-scared to go outside.

One of the copy editors who has known me for a long time told me on Thursday that she started to ask if I was taking today off, but then she checked the schedule and saw that I, in fact, had.

Hey, I had a comp day coming this week anyway. Now that's a lucky break.

So while you're all out there today spilling stuff on your new shirts, getting in fender-benders that make you late for important meetings, fighting with your spouses, getting dumped, getting fired, dodging bullets and meteorites and generally fighting off all the widespread mayhem, don't forget I tried to warn you.

As for me, I'll be safely tucked away under the bed, wearing a helmet and waiting for 12:01 a.m. to come out from hiding.

But wait. 12? 01? But that adds up to ...

Maybe I'll wait until 12:02.

E-mail Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays