Sunday, May 31, 2009
Well here’s a rarity – two blog postings in the course of one day! In this case one topic rapidly led to another. In my futile attempts to control the course of my life, I frequently stumble into superstitious behavior. For this I blame my grandmother. She was adamant about certain things. Does your palm itch? Well, you’re going to come into some money. Drop a knife? Well, that means you’re going to have a fight. I always told myself that I didn’t take these superstitions very seriously, but now I’m beginning to wonder.
I have my own set of irrational beliefs and when I acquire one its almost impossible for me to discard it. Most of my superstitions have something to do with Mizzou sports and how my behavior affects the results of a football or basketball game. They can vary; I’m not of the “I must wear my Mizzou socks today” school. My compulsions are more anecdotal. If I’m watching a game, and I do something (leave the room, turn down the sound), and then the team scores, well I’m usually doomed for the rest of that game to repeat that activity. I don’t dare disregard it, because then if the team loses it’s my fault. I can’t have that on my head!
So Mizzou basketball goes to the elite 8 in the NCAA tournament, and I end up watching the end of the game through a crack in the door, because when I left the room they briefly pulled ahead. I turn off the sound on the TV to answer the phone and the Mizzou softball team scores, so I watch the rest of the game with the sound turned off. It sounds crazy, I know, but I’m afraid many sports fans will nod their heads in recognition. Sports and superstitious behavior seem to go hand-in-hand.
Asia was not good for me in this department. The Chinese are superstitious and they take their superstitions very seriously. It is part of their culture. I definitely was drawn to their beliefs, especially when it came to jade. Jade is said to guard a person’s health and well-being. Chinese children wear jade bangles and jade pendants, to ward off the Chinese version of the evil eye. If you are wearing a jade bracelet and it breaks it’s not a bad thing. It means the jade protected you from something evil, and it was destroyed instead of you being harmed. It just means its time to buy a new jade bracelet!
I made the mistake of wearing a jade ring while flying several years ago. Now I can’t get on an airplane without wearing that ring. If I did I feel like I would be tempting the gods. My rational mind tells me to cut it out, but I can’t take that chance.
How does this all relate to my previous post? Well, obviously I’m trying to control things that anyone will tell you can’t really be controlled. But we persist in attempting to do so, just like we persist in pretending that we know what the future holds.
I wonder right now if I need my superstitions more than ever. With so many things up in the air I need what little I have in the way of illusive control. I don’t really think this is that bad. I’m not washing my hands repetitively or checking to be sure the stove is off before I leave the house. I’m just clinging to another illusion that comforts me. I’m not ready to shove off completely into the void just yet!