Thursday, 30 June 2011

7 years bad luck

Feeling, as I do, relatively free from superstition these days, why is it so hard to escape from the myth that 7 years bad luck would result from breaking a mirror.

The last time I broke a mirror I was about 13 years old.  It appeared to me that my 7 years of bad luck really did happen.  Now I think back I can't imagine why I thought that.  The years before that didn't seem to be any better.  The years after the end of the allocated time of retribution coincided with a time when I had a lot more control over my own destiny and it can't be too surprising that I enjoyed that.  I assume it was just normal teenage angst.

Re-decorating a room in the house I finally decided to remove some mirror tiles that had been installed by a previous resident.  I took down the previous  set of these tiles (in another room) a few years ago, and I was very careful not to break them or to put them in a place where their accidental breakage might be 'deemed to be my fault'.  Deemed by whom?  I don't know.  But it just seemed safer to put them safely and unbroken under the floor boards in the loft.

This time I am plucking up the courage to put them in the dustbin.  They will inevitably get broken sometime soon.  Of course intellectually I don't believe that anyone will get bad luck from the event, but somewhere deep inside I am left to wonder who might deserve the bad luck when it happens.  Is it me? After all, when I put them carefully into the bin they were not broken.  But on the other hand I knowingly put them in a place where they will be broken.

Or does the poor man who empties the bin into the lorry unwittingly get cursed?  This type of justice would seem consistent with certain other common superstitions (namely those attributed to the god of the Old Testament).  There is no justice in the world of superstition.  You would have been lucky to get away with a mere 7 years in the OT, instead of dooming the next four generations of your family.

Here goes!  Wish me luck for the next 7 years.

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