We all have our own little superstitions. What may be completely serious to one is, to another, absurd, comical, or simply bizarre. Yet, those who mock often have their own little superstitions which are absolutely ridiculous to someone else.
For the longest time Lydia believed that going outside with wet hair would result in a case of Bell’s Palsy. She had been told about this well-established scientific fact by her mother when she was an impressionable young girl. (It should be noted that her mother also thought a Pippi Longstocking style hairdo would make my future wife popular amongst her elementary school peers!) Only by patient research into Bell’s Palsy were we able to undo this indoctrination. Unfortunately, we will never be unable to undo the pigtail induced trauma of her childhood.
I shouldn’t laugh. My main superstition also involves being dripped on. If I get drenched by rain or snow and suffer o ill-effects. But, if a single drop of water falls from a roof or other overhanging object and strikes a certain spot on the back of my neck I’m guaranteed to develop a cold or flu within 24 hours. It never fails!
Because of this, whenever there is a storm and I have to head outside, I make sure to cover what could be confusingly referred to as my Achilles’ Heel. It doesn’t matter if the rest of me gets wet as long as that one spot remains dry.
Naturally, this results in much good-natured ribbing from the rest of the family. During the last rainstorm I pulled my jacket up and over my head before dashing out the garage like the Headless Horseman looking for his steed.
“You look goofy!” Mitchell shouted at me as I avoided a cascade of potentially devastating raindrops falling across the open doorway.
“Maybe so,” I agreed. “But I won’t be catching a cold!”
Mitchell just shook his head like he was dealing with someone who insisted the Earth was flat. He should have remembered the old adage about having the last laugh.
A few days later, Mitchell was enjoying some tortilla chips when he suddenly spluttered and began muttering under his breath.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I’m going to get a throat infection,” he said, in a very somber tone.
“How do you know that?” I asked, growing increasingly concerned.
“A chip went down funny and scratched my throat,” he explained. “When that happens I get a sore throat and then my nose gets all blocked up.”
“Tortilla chips give you a cold?” I couldn’t stop grinning.
“No,” he said. “I just get the same symptoms.” It made complete sense to him.
“It sounds to me a lot like the drips on my neck,” I told him.
He sniffed at the suggestion. “It’s nothing like that. Your thing is foolish. What I’m talking about is real.”
Even Sylvia backed him up, claiming she reacted in the same way. It was amazing how superstition could be transformed into science with the simple addition of true believers.
Kevin Toal is a freelance writer who will never stick his neck out in the rain.