February 13, 2004

February 13
-- by David Lehman

It's Friday the 13th and I wonder
how the superstition got started
I'd always thought it was because
there were thirteen diners at the
Last Supper but I recently saw a
documentary abou the Knights
Templar according to which
King Phillip of France mounted
a ruthlessly efficient surprise
attack on the Templars
and tortured them until they
confessed they were heritics,
gnostics. That happened on
a Friday the 13th in the 14th
century, and ever since it's
been an unlucky day to be caught
in a storm or shoplifting or in bed
with a person other than your mate
or just crossing the street before
looking both ways in New York
where, from one point of view,
it's always Friday the 13th.

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