This morning on my drive to work a white cat ran across the street in front of my car about 100 yards out. I am one of those people who instinctively makes an X on the windshield when a black or even a dark colored cat crosses my driving path. I was wondering if I should maybe make an O for the white cat, but then I got sidetracked thinking about superstitions, old wives tales, and just plain b.s. that we get told and still believe to this day. It may sound weird to some, but it was ingrained in me as a kid from somewhere to make an X for black cats crossing my path, and I don’t even know the origins of this gesture (To the Internet!). In the summer when my windshield fogs up from the rain, the evidence of my neuroses is the most evident. Maybe I need to clean the inside of my car more often.
(Photo credit: Flickr)
Other car related superstitions or traditions that were instilled in me was “holding the roof of the car up while crossing a (suspension) bridge so that it doesn’t fall on us!” was taught to me and my cousins by our grandmother. I don’t still do that, but sometimes I think about it, especially the rare occasions that I am near that same bridge near my grandparent’s old house in the Surfside Beach/Socastee area that we used to hold up all of the time as kids.
I’ve grown up with a slight bend towards having superstitious beliefs, but as I’ve gotten older it has taken a more karmic bent, mostly in the thought process of, “Well, if I do this slightly unsavory thing it’s going to come back and bite me worse, or at a more inconvenient time, for sure.”
That type of thought, more than anything has probably restrained me and kept me acting like a decent human being more than my raising or any punishment ever has or would. People really should instill superstitious or karmic beliefs in their children as a way to keep them in line. It’s not lying per se, and the kids can figure it out for themselves when they are older and decide whether or not to keep believing in it.Eventually they’ll become college students who could care less what part of the penny is facing up, and they’ll learn the truth.
But they also may cling to some of the things they learned as a kid for fun and nostalgia, then they’ll curse themselves when it’s raining in the summer and all they can see are smudged Xs on their car windshield.
This Wikipedia article has an interesting section on superstition and psychology towards the bottom. What superstitions do you believe, and is it just for fun or are you serious about them?