magical thinking [maj-i-kuhl thing-king] noun A conviction that thinking is equivalent to doing, occurring in dreams, the thought patterns of children, and some types of mental disorders, especially obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Magical thinking springs up everywhere. Some irrational beliefs like the Tooth Fairy are the “gifts” of our parents, but others we discover on our own. Survival requires recognizing patterns—night follows day, berries that color will make you puke. Our ability to see these patterns are in overdrive. No one told your friend with the “lucky underwear” that they were special, but your friend insists that they make a difference.
I’m not superstitious – I’m a SURVIVOR!
The Number between 12 and 14
I will watch the microwave count down the last several seconds before a piping hot tasty treat is ready, but I close my eyes or look away for several seconds when the timer reaches 14. When the chickens lay a “baker’s dozen” of eggs, I throw one of them across the yard and into the creek. And speaking of eggshells, I walk on them all day on that dreaded Friday.
It is a source of some stress for me that our feral cat colony is almost all solid black. One of the more friendly ones, “Romulus”, used to roll in the dirt before he would come up on the porch. My daughter would say, “See! He’s trying not to be black for you.”
Right Shoe First
I swear if I don’t put my right shoe on first, bad things will happen. I’m really not sure what sort of bad things since I never let that happen, but they will. I am seriously doing you all a favor by making sure that I put on my shoes in the right order.
I can’t help but gasp and quickly throw salt over my shoulder when it’s spilled. This even extends to salt packets at fast food restaurants. Woe unto the Whataburger patron who sits behind me when salt packets fall off the tray and onto the floor.
I will use enough bubble wrap for an entire set of china when packing one mirror in a box. I have never broken a mirror, but I have had a few spectacular diving catches worthy of SportsCenter preventing one from hitting the floor. Is it a coincidence that a bankruptcy stays on your record for seven years and breaking a mirror gives you seven years of bad luck? I think not!
Knock on Wood
When people make that joke when they say “Knock on wood!” and knock on their own heads, I cringe. Seriously people!? This is not a joking matter. Don’t talk about bad things happening unless you are prepared to take action to prevent them, like knocking on some actual wood. Not wood grain paneling, not particle board, not laminate: WOOD!
Wish on a Star
I totally do this every single night when I see the first star in the sky and I never reveal my wish to anyone, even if they see me look up and then close my eyes with intense wishing concentration… and ask me if I’m OK. It’s disappointing on those occassions when I realize that the “star” I’m wishing on is actually a planet, or worse yet an airplane. What a waste of a good wish!