The New Superstitions
A Guide for Those of Little Brain


I was raised in a superstitious home.  Black cats, walking under ladders, Friday the 13th — my family taught me that these things posed a serious threat to my well-being.  But rather than adding magic to my life, my belief in these delusions made for a paranoiac early childhood.  “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back” taken literally can produce panic and ulcers.  Fortunately, by the time I was seven, I was questioning the legitimacy of bad luck and good. 

Now, with decades of formal education and a clear head, I consider superstitions as bollocks, beliefs that have no foundation in science, rationality or whatever you call using your head. However, there is a common sense side to some of these idiotic beliefs.  They do serve a purpose.  Communication with the intellectually challenged — laws for people with no common sense — is the basis for many bad luck/good luck propositions.  What’s described in superstitions, afterall, as bad luck is often just not good for you.  (In case you hadn’t noticed, some people are ignorant of what’s good for them on a very basic level.)  Enter superstitions, which in a society of dullards can enforce what should be common practice.  Bad luck to break a mirror.   Of course, you’ll cut your feet.  Bad luck to walk under a ladder?  Well, yeah.  Who’s working up there?  Bad luck to open an umbrella indoors. It’s big, cumbersome in tight places, and chances are you’re going to light it up with a kerosene lamp or, nowadays, a neon bulb.  Bad luck to put a hat on a bed.  I suppose someone might sit on it.  Bad luck to light three cigarettes on the same match.  You’ll burn your fingers.  Bad luck to let milk boil over.  Duh.

Like I said, some people need an extra shove in the direction of common sense.  Don’t believe me?  There are billboards on Interstate 40 in New Mexico next to the high voltage power line corridor that read, “Don’t climb on the power lines.”  If you want to gage the intelligence of the general public, look no further.  We live among savages.  If you tell them it’s smart to be smart, they will, at best, ignore you.  If you tell them that if they’re not smart, they will be punished by a supernatural fate, they may actually believe it. And so I propose to you (and of course them, in a much more serious way), The new superstitions (feel free to add more at your discretion):

Talking on a cell phone while driving will bring you seven years bad luck. 

Take too many Viagra and your children will be born impotent.

If you own a pit bull, you will have headaches.

Post compromising pictures of yourself on facebook, break your mother’s back.

If you’re not handicapped and you park in a handicap zone, you will become handicapped.

If you hold hot coffee between your legs while driving, you will never marry.

Put metal in a microwave and you will have nightmares.

Apply too much Mascara on a daily basis and your eyes will fall out.

And of course, if you climb on power lines, you will be hit by a lightening bolt.  It’s true.  Believe me.  Now take your rabbit’s foot and get out of here.

— Nathan Callahan

First Broadcast May 13, 2011

© / Nathan Callahan / all rights reserved


Broadcasting Fridays at 8:50 am from KUCI 88.9 fm Orange County, California