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15 January 2006

Fridays the Thirteenth

As you are probably well aware, this past Friday was Friday the Thirteenth. It was the first Friday the Thirteenth since the birth of this blog on 14 May 2005, which, ironically, was the day after the last Friday the Thirteenth (13 May 2005). While I would like to have posted on that day in particular, circumstances would not allow it. As such, I shall simply post about it today.

There is a certain stigma about Fridays the Thirteenth. Bad luck seems to abound, people are wary of black cats and ladders. My question is: "Why?" Why Friday, and why the thirteenth? Why not Tuesday the Twenty-Second or Saturday the Third or Wednesday the Twenty-Ninth?

I don't know, and quite possibly no one knows the origins of this seemingly antediluvian superstition. But I do know one thing: that Friday the Thirteenth is just another day in many other countries. There is no superstition surrounding that day in Italy, for instance; they just go about their normal business. This is not to say, however, that the Italians are without their own superstitions, however. No, in Italy, the day that is feared is Friday the Seventeenth.

I learned this by reading an article in the newspaper a few Fridays the Thirteenth ago. I felt that it explained a lot about most of the bad luck I seemed to have had in my life. I have never really had bad luck on any Friday the Thirteenth that I can imagine. In fact, I very often have good luck on such days. Rather, my unluckiest of days have, interestingly enough, been Fridays the Seventeenth. As I am of Italian descent on one side of my family, I felt that this was appropriate.

Enough about that, however, and on to how my Friday the Thirteenth actually went (it really has been a while since I've posted about my daily life). This was definitely one of those Fridays the Thirteenth on which I had good luck.

First, in English Lit, the class convinced the teacher to show a short video portrayal of a story written by an author we had recently studied. The teacher warned us that the video was "very much racially offensive," and that if anybody had any objections to watching such a video, he would not show it to the class. None of us objected, and after watching it, we all wondered what the fuss was about. We honestly saw worse in middle school; the only "racially offensive" part of the video was the use of the N-word two or three times right at the beginning. We felt like we were being treated as extremely sheltered elementary-school students, being so strongly warned about an author who "doesn't sugar-coat anything" and chose to include "all the strong racial slurs" of the era. Oh, well.

Wellness & Nutrition went well; we made spaghetti and meatballs, which turned out quite well I must say, despite some of the group's members' initially neglecting to put the egg into the meatball mixture, and then forgetting to beat it once they did.

The senior class was called to the auditorium during Tutorial by the Dean of Students regarding their walkout protest at last Tuesday's pep assembly. At every pep assembly, there is a cheering competition between the classes, and until this year, the seniors always won. Always. (Well, there was one time a few years ago when the juniors won because the seniors cheated.) Anyways, at Tuesday's assembly for our basketball teams, some senior got hold of the microphone and cheered into it during the competition. As such, the seniors were eliminated in the next round of competition, and the juniors were ecstatic. They started cheering such things as "We are the seniors," even though they clearly are scheduled to graduate in 2007. So when it was the juniors' turn during the next round of the competition, about 95% of the senior class simply walked out of the gymnasium. It didn't really matter anyways; it was 14:34 and we were about to be dismissed.

So the Dean of Students called us to the auditorium, the initial intent was to uninvite the Class of 2006 from the next pep assembly. But he actually listened to what we had to say. Our class has felt slighted out of nearly everything over the last five years. First, the traditional eighth grade field trip to Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio was cancelled; we went to a local fitness club for a day instead. Then, the traditional eighth grade semiformal dance was discontinued. Requirements for graduation projects were changed in the middle of our high school career, as was the decision to use block scheduling, which muddled many of our schedules. Finally, after suffering through three years of high school, waiting to become seniors, the Class of 2007 totally disrespects us by trying to take over. Needless to say, it was more than a bit disheartening to many seniors.

The Dean of Students said he didn't realize that there was so much emotion behind the protest, and agreed that we should be getting more respect from the underclassmen, but told us that walking out of a pep assembly isn't the way to earn it. He said that we deserve to be proud of being seniors, and that the juniors should have no right to take that away from us. So now the juniors are going to be called to the auditorium during Tutorial on Tuesday.

Our band director, Mr. Dearbeck, was at an Honors Band festival at a local college with a few students, so the class was essentially a free-for-all. The guys I hung out with were hitting a tennis ball around one of the smaller rooms in the Music Department. I simply hid behind a tower of foam for the bell choir tables, terrified, but enjoying every minute of it. Even though I was scared for my life, I had the most fun I've had probably in years. It's been a while since I've "hung out with the guys." So I'd definitely like to do stuff like that more often, though not during school, at the risk of breaking first-place championship marching band trophies from before I was born.

By the time lunch had rolled around, I had found a total of three pennies and a dime on the floor. As I headed to Chorus, I casually mentioned to the art teacher that I had found thirteen cents and that I had better find another coin so as not to find only thirteen cents on Friday the Thirteenth. Completely unprompted, she said that she had a nickel in her pocket that she could drop on the floor for me to "find." So she did, and I hesitatingly "found" it. And then I went on to Chorus, reflecting on the sheer awkwardness of that conversation.

Our choral director was being observed and was a bit disconcerted that she was to be observed on Friday the Thirteenth. Nevertheless, she got through it fine. And since she wanted to prove to the observer that she could play the piano, she did not have me play as much of a role in helping her, so I actually got to sing during class for once! I think once the semester switches I'll make her a CD of accompaniment for some of the songs we're doing in class, so that I can actually sing more often in class; District Chorus is coming up 01-04 February and I need all the practice I can get.

In Chemistry, we got our tests back from Thursday; I got 37 out of 36. The teacher's computer then started acting up so much that she couldn't print our PowerPoint note skeletons. She jokingly decided that our lesson was going to be seeing how many pieces the laptop would break into if we smashed it against the wall. So we watched an old PBS video on acids and bases (blue to red, a-ced). At least it didn't say anything about water being the "commonest" substance on Earth. By the time the video was over, the teacher had managed to print our note skeletons, but the computer still wasn't working correctly, and it couldn't show a PowerPoint presentation while downloading a 50MB Service Pack, so we had half an hour to "read the chapter" for Tuesday.

After school, I had the pleasure of taking a nice long nap, something I haven't been able to afford to do since Christmas break. Around 17:30, my father woke me up and said that I had more mail from the University of Pittsburgh. Now, since hearing of my acceptance on 21 December, I have been getting mail from them almost non-stop. But this envelope was another big one like the one in which the acceptance letter came; the contents were clearly unfolded. I opened it, and was delighted to hear that I had been selected to receive a Full Tuition Honors Scholarship (renewable for four years with a 3.0 QPA) and that I'm eligible to compete for a Chancellor's Scholarship, which would also include room and board, a meal plan, and all other fees.

Although I'm still waiting to hear from a couple other schools I applied to, this scholarship certainly makes my decision significantly easier, unless, of course, something better comes up from one of the other schools. But we seriously doubt it. Also the same day in a separate mailing I was sent a 2006 calendar from the Pitt Pathfinders, which I proudly hung up in my room immediately (somehow they knew I needed a calendar).

Needless to say, this Friday the Thirteenth was certainly a lucky day for me. Now all I have to do is write my last of three term papers for English Lit on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and my weekend will be complete!


Stephen Lewis said...

for the record,

but yeah, friday the 13th is usually better than other days. i think this was a better 13th because of one party my friend had. she decided we'd watch horror films on friday the 13th, but we knew that wouldn't last long. (she's usually the first to duck under the blanket when something scary happens.)
i'm the type of weirdball that doesn't laugh at jokes, but at peoples' reactions to it. horror films are just the same. they don't scare me, rather i laugh when other people get scared. so after watching the amityville horror, she decided yeah, lets do something else.

so we played freeze tag in the middle of the street. freeze tag feels so good after so many years of "being too old for that stuff".

Anonymous said...

Glad your Friday the 13th went well. Mine are usually uneventful... in fact, I had completely forgotten that it was Friday the 13th until one of my friends reminded me. ^_^;;

So you think you're going to Pitt? Awesome! I'll be at SRU, so perhaps we'll actually be able to hang out from time to time. That would be cool ^_^

Tim Parenti said...

Yeah, I had a feeling that someone would bring up the Wikipedia reference; but as I constructed this post offline Saturday night, and I was too lazy to look it up...

Oh, well. My point is, no one knows for certain what the original reference was.

And as for Pitt, yeah, I think I'll probably be going there.

Stephen Lewis said...

ah. and actually, i didn't read the article before i actually posted the link... dang, point for tj. and congratulations on pitt as well!

Tim Parenti said...

Yay!!! ^_^ I've never gotten a point on my own blog before...

Stephen Lewis said...

actually, according to the official score-of-life rulebook, you give points in increments of two, and deduct in fives. so, you actually get two points.

Tim Parenti said...


Mr. Dearbeck gets a name because I've already used it before (1,2) and I know he doesn't care. The other teachers might not be so apathetic, like possibly Mr. Andersen (1,2). Also, in case you didn't notice, back in May I quietly deleted a post because I used someone's name without permission, it offended them, and I lost their friendship over the whole ordeal. I should think you would know something about that...

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