Today is Friday the 13th. While this pairing of number and day might cause some people concern, we’ve already established that I’m not to worried about the coincidences of calendars. But you may want to be on your guard today to ensure you don’t walk under a ladder.
There are a few theories out there for the origin and history of why it’s considered bad luck to wander underneath a ladder. The first comes from the Christian nations, where the ladder represented the holy trinity of father, son, and spirit. This is because the ladder forms a sacred triangle, whether free-standing or leaning against a wall, and to walk through this triangle is to “break” the trinity… to commit blasphemy. So, you walk under a ladder, you’re in league with the devil. Simple as that.
Another theory suggests that a ladder was associated with the gallows, a raised platform to facilitate public hangings. Naturally, anything related to that would have the bad luck stigma attached.
My boring old logical theory suggests that when you walk under a ladder, especially with somebody working above, you would be significantly increasing the odds of having something fall on you. In the same sense, it’s “bad luck” to stand at the train station on the bit of concrete that’s spattered with pigeon poop.
Now, if you do find yourself accidentally stumbling through a ladder/trinity today, don’t panic. There are things you can do to put the universe right again. Pick any one of these bad-luck-reversing tricks:
1. Spit. You can either spit three times through the rungs of the ladder, or alternatively spit on your shoe. But don’t dare look at your shoe until it has dried. (how are you supposed to know you hit your shoe in the first place? And what if you’re wearing sandals?)
2. Put it in reverse and back your way through the ladder again. Clearly this will undo what just happened.
3. Cross your fingers until you find a dog.
4. The bonus LSNED exclusive solution: stop believing in luck and keep on walking.