The International Writers Magazine: Remember it's bad luck
to believe in susperstitions!
THOUGHTS AND OPINIONS OF A BUDDHIST AMONG BAPTISTS
Reverend Father Antonio
Hernández, O.M.D., A.B.F.
Founder of the Independent Order of American Buddhist Fathers
YOU WANT TO KNOCK ON WOOD - THERE'S ALWAYS YOUR HEAD
Birds and rodents
are exquisite hoarders, and thieves. It is something of a mystery
why they steal/collect shiny objects. Even archeologists can attest
to the fact, as they suffer horrifying moments when they find a
video game token in a dig. This happens often, thanks to the hoarding
my mother and I watched a crow ingeniously untie a complicated sailor's
knot with its beak. The bird wanted the thin rope for nesting material,
my mother said. "And when they need something, animals are smarter
than humans", she said. We had a conversation about the superiority
of engineering in birds' nests. My mother mentioned something about
rats' nests, though she cringed with all her might.
It occurred to me then that we were discussing the possible roots of
human superstitions. Collecting can shade into superstition, so I will
avoid that fond topic. Superstition- which I call "stupidstition"-
is my target here. Thomas Jefferson once called Christianity "our
(meaning Westerners) own peculiar superstition", and said he found
no distinction between it and any other superstition. It amounted to
silly, magical beliefs, hoarding and irrational imbuing of objects with
some sort of 'life'.
Perhaps superstition is a remnant survival instinct of some sort, but
I doubt this. Many bar fights have ensued over the cigarette-bumming
pal who commits the grievous sin of taking the "lucky cigarette".
For those who do not know, the lucky cigarette is the first to be removed
from a new pack. It is turned upside down and returned to the pack.
It must be the last cigarette of the pack to be smoked. Reason? Explanation?
Not the slightest hint.
Many people have lucky charms (I don't mean the cereal). They rub them,
talk to them, some even 'pray' to these inanimate objects. Several of
our people in Iraq have made headlines which dealt with their lucky
charms (a miniature Barbie doll and a teddy bear among them). When we're
not at war, it's the lucky charms of famous athletes that are discussed
with scholarly intensity. Many people have lucky underwear. I myself
People have inordinate fears that amount to superstition. Some people
avoid numbers, locations, colors, and days of the week. "Unlucky",
I've been told when I've asked folks to explain their aversions. We
all know about hotels not having 13th floors, going instead from 12
to 14. We know of the intense hatred for Mondays. Anyone care to volunteer
the words "DUMB ASS" yet?
Superstition may take the place of religion. Religion itself being no
more than terrifically organized superstitions, there seems to be no
qualm about allowing individual eccentricities. Catholics do weird things
with statues of the saints; Jews spit all over everything; Buddhists
want to keep a death grip on their "Lucky Buddha"; I have
no idea what the Muslims and Zoroastrians do. Perhaps they throw lucky
darts at pictures of Westerners.
Well, after all this ranting (superstitiously?), I find no harm in the
charm. Dumb, yes, but harmless. We need our totems, charms, talismans.
A rabbit's foot will not change destiny, but it could help people change
their minds. Telling a string of prayer beads will not tell the future,
but it can help keep us noble. And that family heirloom charm bracelet
is a respectable token by any standard- even if we are rendered agoraphobic
The only two things I personally wish, not being at all superstitious,
is, firstly, that people should stop laying beer bottles across each
others' heads over the lucky cigarette. Secondly, I'd love not to be
pelted with salt some idiot at the next table has spilled, then hurled
over the left shoulder, directly at me. Then, who knows? Perhaps war
will eventually stop, too.
all rights reserved