I constantly knock on wood.  I even carry some around with me just in case.  I hope the wood spirits bring me luck.

I throw salt over my shoulder whenever I use some in cooking, or spill some elsewhere.  I want to appease some sort of spirit with that.

There’s a song that whenever I hear it I get bad interpersonal luck.  I hate that song.

I like to think when something bad happens to me, it’s saving up karma for something good in the future.

I cross myself when the airplane takes off.

I believe it is tempting fate to say something like, “I’m all caught up on all my work!”  (Related:  “I have no more referee reports to do.”)

What are your superstitions?  Or are you too rational to have any?

20 Responses to “Superstitions”

  1. Leah Says:

    I always feel like this is more mild OCD, but I don’t walk on painted lines on the pavement (I hate crossing parking lots). I also hold my keys/other loose stuff carefully when I get into elevators.

    On the bright side, this is an improvement from my childhood when I had to only walk on certain color tiles at the mall and I wouldn’t get into elevators.

  2. Holly@ClubThrifty Says:

    I don’t walk on pavement lines either! I also don’t sleep with any body parts hanging off of the bed. This is because my brother told me that monsters were under my bed when I was little.

  3. GMP Says:

    I knock on wood, too, and it has to be 27 times (3x3x3). I wish I was kidding…

    And I am totally with you on not uttering words that things are going well, as that jinxes it.

    (Regarding referee reports, there is a journal that has managed, several times already, to send me a new referral the same f***ing day after I have submitted the last one they requested. Sadly, I no longer hold any hope that I will ever again be without a referee report in my pending folder…)

  4. Ally Says:

    I do NOT believe in superstition, yet I am still fascinated and follow some of them – I knock on wood, I have a notecard in my “theatre bag” that gives us the “solution” to if someone mentions the Scottish play in the theatre, etc (actually pretty much all the superstitions I follow are theatre ones other than the knocking on wood)

  5. Cloud Says:

    I knock on wood, too, but I’m not sure how serious I am about it. I always joke when I do it. But I always do it. Hmmmm.

    I also invoke karma, but more when someone does something mean or jerky. I like to think that person will pay for the bad karma someday.

  6. Miser Mom Says:

    Finding a perfectly good pair of size-9 running shoes on top of somebody’s trash pile as I’m walking down the street just when I’m getting desperate for new running shoes: that’s good luck! (Only happened once in my life, though).

  7. Debbie M Says:

    I’d rather not announce that things look like they are going to go well too soon.

    Whenever times are confusing or rough, I become tempted to check out things that I don’t normally trust. Except horoscopes–ever since that day that there was a fire in my brother’s room, I stuck my hand in a cactus, I got my thumb caught in the garage door, and a bee stung me but my horoscope just said it would be a nice day for a walk, I have been utterly convinced that they would be of no help.

  8. rented life Says:

    I knock on wood. I also have “rules” about things–we don’t talk about developing things for fear we might jinx it. If I want something to happen and I think about it too much it tends to not happen so we don’t practice that positive imaging stuff around here. I am careful not to break any mirrors. My gram is highly superstitious though, and is pretty annoyed that my brother and I both own black cats. She won’t sit at the table if there’s 13 seats. (seriously, she ate at a TV tray one Christmas eve.)

  9. Ana Says:

    I get superstitious about things that I can’t control but can really f up my day to day life—i.e. baby sleep, on-call volume/acuity. Mentioning ANY kind of positive about these is a no-no and will totally jinx the outcome. I don’t know if this is superstition or truly horrible cognitive coping mechanisms, but I also kind of believe that if I expect the worst, it won’t happen—& if I DON”T worry, then something WILL go wrong. I have examples that follow this, but there are probably a million times I didn’t worry & nothing went wrong that I just never noticed (ascertainment bias?)

  10. chacha1 Says:

    I don’t have any superstitions. I do not, however, claim that this means I am rational. :-)

  11. bogart Says:

    “Knock on wood,” definitely. Also, never say never. And *never* say a horse hasn’t ever … (or that one has never e.g. fallen off said horse, or fallen off only thrice, or whatever), unless said horse has gone to the large pasture in the sky. Goes for dogs, kids, and selves, too, though I did once allow myself to observe (out loud!) that DS had reached his 6th birthday without requiring stitches, a milestone I myself fell far short of.

  12. Practical Parsimony Says:

    I don’t have any superstitions at all. My mother was very adamant about superstitions not being true. However, I have three children who are superstitious about jinxing things. Their father encouraged this and used it to control them. People who allow horoscopes and “signs” to rule what they will do drive me nuts, especially when their decisions impact me.

    When I was in about the third grade, I wanted a rabbit foot because someone at school had one and told me it was good luck. I begged for months and was denied one. Finally, when I had begged and explained I did not think it would bring me luck, that I just wanted one, she gave in. It was a pretty pink rabbit foot, and I never considered it as a good luck charm.

    As much as I abhor superstitious practices, I read books on the subject for literature I was reading while in grad school. I do consider counting rosary beads, fringe wearing, and tied knots as a superstitious practice when used for controlling the future or as signs of the future. There is a whole book on knots.

    I still don’t let my foot or hand hang off the bed because there just may be something under the bed that will reach up and grab it. I don’t think that is superstitious, just good sense. Seriously, that is a lingering fear that rational thought will not erase. It is the only irrational fear I have.

  13. hush Says:

    I will never play with a Ouija board. Hell to the no. I’d like to think I’m not some irrational, magical thinker… but those things freak me out.

  14. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    I don’t have any superstitions at all. I would happily walk under a ladder on the thirteenth floor with a black cat under each arm while taking the Lord’s name in vain and stepping on cracks.

  15. Mutant Supermodel Says:

    I knock on wood but jokingly. In my family, we always say “Si Dios quiere” when we talk about things in the future– i.e. “If God wants it” so as to not jinx them. I don’t like talking about developing things either for fear of the great jinx. I have a $2 bill on my fridge that my grandmother gave me– it’s supposed to bring more money. I have wind chimes on my front porch that are there mostly because I just love wind chimes but I also know they are believed to ward off evil spirits.

  16. Dr. Virago Says:

    I’m a little behind in catching up on your blog, so I’m late to chime in, but I *totally* do many of these things — knock on wood, throw salt, etc. I *know* it doesn’t actually do anything, but I like the ritual/habit of it.

    And I love that you (whichever one of you) do some of these things, too, given how otherwise quantitatively/empirically driven you both are.

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