Monday, September 29, 2003

Ick and the Evil Eye 

A friend gave me an evil eye pendent today. It fell out of her over-burdened purse while she was in my office and somehow it just had to become mine. It’s taped at the top of my computer monitor right now staring at me, myopic and ominous.

Besides being a complete and total psychopath of course, my friend obviously has some “issues” with superstition. I am fascinated by her numerous superstitions partly because I have somehow managed to grow up without very many of my own.

Spill salt, and I know enough to throw it over my left shoulder. (Or is it the right shoulder? I never can remember, so I usually do both, which has the effect of evening out my luck.)

I know not to ever put shoes on a table. (Although I can’t tell you why, other than it’s sort of gross. I mean, you go out to get the mail and you step on a snail. Who wants snail guts on your kitchen table?)

If I scratch my left palm, it means I am going to lose some money. Scratch my right palm, and I will be coming into some money. Or is it the other way around? I can never remember, so if I notice myself scratching one palm, I usually make a point of scratching the other, which probably makes me come up dead-even, money-wise. (This explains why I am not a millionaire, I guess.)

Walk under a ladder or let a black cat cross your path, and you are certain to have some bad luck fall upon you.

Bird flies into the house? Somebody’s gonna die, right?

Break a mirror? You got seven years of bad luck comin’ to ya.

Step on a crack? Break your mother’s back.

A few minutes of research on the Net proved that every culture has their superstitions. In Japan, they believe that if you lie down right after eating, you will become a cow. In Italy, if you hear a cat sneeze, you will be the recipient of some good luck. Greeks believe that crows foretell a death. In Russia, if you are going to buy somebody flowers, be sure to buy an odd number because even numbers are only for funerals. The Irish believe that two people washing hands together in the same basin are courting disaster. The Chinese have so many superstitions it’s a wonder they can even leave the house.

The evil eye superstition apparently has roots everywhere: Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, and Hindu people all seem to share the belief that a certain type of malevolent glance can cause injury or death or destroy somebody’s mojo (sexual power).

Jolique.com has this to say about the history of the term “evil eye:”

Personally, I always refer to this kind of creepiness as "the ick."

Typically, women are most often accused of having the ability to cast an evil eye. (Since we are wise and crafty, this does not surprise me.) Children are thought to be most vulnerable to the evil eye. (Since they are young and innocent, this only makes sense.)

In many cultures, wearing a special talisman (which actually resembles an evil eye itself) works to ward off the evil eye. Mother’s pin them on their children. Men secret them in their trouser pockets. Women wear them as jewelry. I suppose is why my computer is now sporting one. Hopefully it will now be protected against the blue screen of death and other such technological manifestations of the ick.

Thank goodness for generous friends and over-burdened purses. Now spit three times and turn around in a counter-clockwise circle…and be sure to leave this blog the same way you came in.

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