Knock on wood
May 18, 2009
Kids these days sure do have a lot to learn. An entire generation is being raised with all the knowledge in the world right at their fingertips and yet they remain largely uneducated. They can Google, text and e-mail and yet they step on cracks in the sidewalk and continue to walk under ladders. They may be the smartest generation in history and yet they do not know that a black cat brings bad luck.
I found out that young people today don’t know their superstitions when my niece asked, “Uncle Lee, why are there circles and quarter-circles on this calendar”
“They are the phases of the moon,” I explained. “Many farmers and ranchers plan their schedules around the moon. They castrate and dehorn animals when the moon is in its waning phase and fence posts are always stronger if set when there is almost no moon at all. Farmers believe their crops will grow better if planted in the first phase and some even bury a cow’s horn filled with quartz and water for luck.”
“How was this suspect data acquired,” my intelligent niece asked.
“Everybody has known these things for years,” I replied.
“I’ve never heard such nonsense,” said my niece. “It sounds like voodoo to me.”
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“No, no, for your own health and safety I’d suggest you learn these superstitions or you might eat a mushroom that was dug in a full moon and die.”
“That’s crazy. What other silly superstitions do you believe in?” she asked.
“I believe that singing at the table will bring bad luck and that you should eat a bit of gun powder in your oatmeal once in awhile to lead a long and healthy life.”
“That may be true but when you do finally die you’ll blow up the crematorium!”
“Ha, ha. This is no laughing matter. How do you expect to have a good marriage and be successful in business if you continue to live in darkness? “I asked.
“You can’t be serious Uncle Lee? Has any of this been scientifically proven?”
“Oh sure. Just ask any rodeo cowboy. They always put their right foot in the stirrup first, don’t carry loose change in their pockets and never wear yellow.”
“That’s not scientific. It’s baloney. Do you have any better proof?”
“Sure do. There’s the old superstition that if a wild bird flies into your house someone close to you will die. Sure enough, we had a wild bird fly into our house and 34 years later my dad died.”
“Pretty convincing,” said my sarcastic niece. “You said it would affect my marriage. How?”
“For one thing, if you see a pig at a wedding hire a divorce lawyer immediately.”
“I don’t go to many weddings where there are pigs,” countered my niece. “I thought you were smarter than this, Uncle Lee.”
“Let’s just say that with my luck I can’t afford to take any chances. Once I was a nonbeliever like you but I found out the hard way. I didn’t spit on the white horse that came to a branding for luck and the branding fire got out of control and burned down the old outhouse.”
“Is there anything else that you think brings good luck?” asked my niece.
“Sure. If you accidentally put your underwear on backwards that can be lucky.”
“But I’d imagine that would create other problems,” said my astute niece, no doubt thinking about the outhouse.
After witnessing my niece’s sarcastic attitude towards these time-tested superstitions I’m terribly concerned about the future of the younger generation. I bet there’s not a lucky penny, rabbit’s foot or four-leaf clover between them. Hopefully they still have enough time to come to their senses and nail up a few horseshoes, separate their sheep from their goats and throw some salt over their shoulders.
Knock on wood.