Cross fingers, just in case

Today marks the first of three Friday the 13ths to occur this year (the other two are in April and July), which makes 2012 a lucky or unlucky year, depending on your outlook.

Some people believe 2012 is the year of the apocalypse, or the end of the world. With that looming, even a Friday the 13th would be considered lucky, even if previously considered unlucky. An apocalypse certainly would make 2012 the unluckiest year ever.

It seems enough people across the globe fear Friday the 13ths that in the United Kingdom at least, such days see a 27 percent drop in airline bookings, the Daily Mail reported.

An airline comparison website found that in 2011, on Friday, May 13 there was a 24 percent drop in flight reservations compared to interest in the seven days prior. That figure climbed to 27 percent this year, according to jetcost.co.uk.

If such numbers are true, that would be good luck for those travelers willing to fly that day, at least in terms of elbow room, if not special, last-minute deals.

It’s probably also a lucky day to get married, as far as getting the venue you want, perhaps even discounted.

The superstition is centuries old, as are attempts at its debunking.

Without getting into a political debate, it’s historically interesting to note that President Teddy Roosevelt belonged to an organization called the Thirteen Club, which aimed to improve the number’s reputation as “unlucky.” (Apprarently, when you speak softly and carry a big stick, numerals aren’t a source of fear.)

The club originated in 1881, lasted many years and gained more than 400 members, Time magazine reported, and included four additional presidents: Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison and William McKinley.

At its first meeting, the wacky 13 original members walked under ladders to enter a room covered with spilled salt. Despite the group’s efforts, No. 13 remained an outcast. (But the scrappy number never cries over spilled milk.)

It turns out, several presidencies later, President Franklin Roosevelt had a fear of No. 13, and would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Yes, he of “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” fame.

FDR has more company than not, however, considering that many hotels and skyscrapers worldwide still skip the 13th floor by calling it the 14th floor.

Is it too early to start worrying about next year — 2013? It sounds so much more apocalyptic than 2012, (but only has two Friday the 13ths.)

Anyway, good luck today.