I’ve always been fond of the day Friday in general. For example, I was born on a Sunny Friday just past 12noon. Growing up I had an interest in norse and greek mythology and since then I’ve discovered an interest for etymology(1) which has since lead me to appreciate Friday more as the day was named after the Norse Goddess Frigga
sixth day of the week, Old English frigedæg “Friday, Frigga’s day,” from Frige, genitive of *Frigu (see Frigg), Germanic goddess of married love. The day name is a West Germanic translation of Latin dies Veneris “day of (the planet) Venus,” which itself translated Greek Aphrodites hemera. Source: “Friday” Etymology Online
I’ve always, also, been fond of the number 13 in general. For example, the number 13 is a “happy number” mathematically(2) but also it makes me happy because it’s the baker’s dozen (there’s gotta be a “test pastry” for the baker, right?). Fin and Louie also like pastries.
Given the sum of the parts Friday, a day celebrating love and beauty, and 13 being a number with such happy connotations, Friday the 13th should be a good day. And it is depending on what you’re taking into consideration.
Despite, or rather because, the fact that so many Americans have a stigma for Friday the 13th, it’s one of the best days for driving because the superstitious are less likely to be on the road leaving the rest of us sociopathic vehicle operators which sounds like an amusing day on the road. However in reality, I couldn’t find statically significant data proving whether it’s a safer day for driving or robbing a bank or anything.
The main reason this day has any “significance” is because of various rumours and pieces of propaganda throughout history involving legendary figures like Knights Templar and King Harold II and their demise, none of which has any significant historical basis other than in the Christian tradition of demonising non-Christian symbols, mythologies, and deities in a quest for spiritual world dominance (which does have a significant, and rather bloody at that, historical basis).
These pieces of sensationalist legend about Friday the 13th being a satanically evil day can be called conspiracy theories or propaganda but since they lack any significant factual basis there’s a more modern term appropriate for it: Fake News. Don’t let people others tell you how you should feel about a specific day because that’s submitting to a form of mind control. I’m serious.
One of the key challenges for me on a regular basis, and I know that I’m not the only one who struggles with this, is knowing when and to what extent to question myself and my beliefs. Over the course of the last 5 years I’ve been forced to examine, dissect, and reassemble almost every aspect of my life (it all started when I turned 24 and I took my first solo trip cross country and realised a few weeks in “What’s my end game here?”). Welcome to The Quarter-Life Crisis: The Millennial Generation’s individual and collective struggle to find meaning.
I’ve always been a worker but I haven’t always sought meaningful work. For the first 5 years of my working life I did whatever made me money and I used to pull in(3). Then I went off to my second music festival and I came home dirty broke, beautiful, free, and in the mood to quit my job and become a hobo (find work that took me traveling) because despite my new found feelings of freedom I was still trapped just in a cage of a new making.
The process took years to fully manifest and for me to become deeply aware of what it was that was driving my incessant need to escape. My first reading of the book Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace was like a light that caught the bars of cage in just a way that sparked my sense of self-awareness. I began the book 4 months before I decided to stop drinking (for a long while at minimum)(4) and finished it after 3 months sober(5). One of the motifs in Infinite Jest (IJ) is this concept of “The Cage”.
“The Cage” as I understand it can be summed up in a joke one of the side characters tells Don Gately, a main character
“Bob Death smiles coolly (South Shore bikers are required to be extremely cool in everything they do) and manipulates a wooden match with his lip and says No, not that fish-one. He has to assume a kind of bar-shout to clear the noise of his idling hawg. He leans in more toward Gately and shouts that the one he was talking about was: This wise old whiskery fish swims up to three young fish and goes, ‘Morning, boys, how’s the water?’ and swims away; and the three young fish watch him swim away and look at each other and go, ‘What the fuck is water?’ and swim away. The young biker leans back and smiles at Gately and gives an affable shrug and blatts away, a halter top’s tits smashed against his back.” (445)
The way I understand The Cage is not only the physical presence of the water, in this situation I am a fish, but also becoming aware of it’s overwhelming presence and what to do about it.
Once I became aware of the scope of The Cage, it became very clear to me that I would have to begin the long process of finding what “meaningful work” means to me and then once I’ve defined it, beginning the journey to find (or more likely create) that job. This blog is a step in the right direction.
Thank you for helping to be apart of that journey.
Tune in Wednesday for a Hellbound Special Edition of Rewind Wednesday (returning for a limited time, future posting unclear).
- I can pinpoint the precise moment when I became intrigued by the concept of etymology, of which I had a blithe indifference towards prior, and how a precisely chosen word can add to the flavour of a text. October 2006, the first time I read House of Leaves and I got to page 114. I posted about it on Labour day a few weeks ago on Instagram.
- And this is why I love math and wikipedia: “A happy number is a number defined by the following process: Starting with any positive integer, replace the number by the sum of the squares of its digits in base-ten, and repeat the process until the number either equals 1 (where it will stay), or it loops endlessly in a cycle that does not include 1. Those numbers for which this process ends in 1 are happy numbers, while those that do not end in 1 are unhappy numbers (or sad numbers).”
Or applied to our example:
13 is happy
1^2 + 3^2 = 10
1^2 + 0^2 = 1
Also, thankfully, the proof for 13 being happy is much shorter than the proof for 7 being happy (I was hoping it wouldn’t be…)
For more information, see the WolfRam page on Happy Numbers.
- I used to work in speciality retail on commissions and despite my love for the word “fuck”, I made a pretty fucking good salesman (consistently top in the company for the 2 years I worked there).
- In spirit of transparency, I was sober collectively for 12 of 14 months and just before returning home to the US I decided I had cleared my head enough to suss out some deeper concerns and now I do have a few beers some times. I still don’t really do hard liquor except on special occasions.
- Now that I’m thinking about it (this is all strange coincidence) I started Infinite Jest a second time because after reading it for the first time whilst trying to go sober, whilst working full time, whilst going to school full time (English Lit, reading a lot for class), whilst trying to get paperwork and self (mentally, emotionally, physically) ready to travel abroad for a year or so, whilst dealing with an expiring lease and trying to work out couch surfing plans for the month before I left the country whilst trying to think about organising a birthday/going away party at the end of the summer before I left (birthday: 23rd September; fly: 1st October) whilst starting a new blog, I had a lot on my mind. So after the first time finishing it, most people I’ve spoken to who have finished it think “…what the fuck, man?”, I couldn’t even manage that. I was pretty sure I had missed literal chunks of the narrative from drunk-over or sleep deprived reading. I decided to start reading the book again the day I flew (or intended to) and finished it for the second time just after getting home (which was around the same time I same time I decided to crack a cold one with the boys, after getting home that is not finishing the book despite the ending).