Friday the 13th: on Luck and Privilege

So some folks think of Friday the 13th as a particularly lucky or unlucky day. When I was a kid, I chose to think of it as potentially lucky but on the whole didn't really react strongly to it either way. As an adult, Friday the 13th continues to be just another day. I mean sure, there are movies named after this date and yes occasionally there are events surrounding this date as well (I think Deadmonton House is open tonight for one last night this Halloween season for example), but on the whole it's just another date during the year. And today my to-do list looms as per the usual and I hope to be able to accomplish a few useful things, but on the whole won't be treating it as much different than anything else.

But what is luck? I mean, sure circumstances might coincide in such a way that one's name is drawn in a contest (yes, I enter a lot of contests), but odds govern those for the most part. One could say that one is lucky to be born in North America in a relatively-middle-class-ish family (I hate the term middle class in the sense that everyone defines it differently but I'm trying to generalize here so there's that), that one has had a decent education, that one has food on one's table etc. Some would argue that all of these circumstances aren't lucky at all: that they come from hard work for generations or that they are the result of much effort during a single lifespan or something. And yes, sure there is some truth to each of those many arguments. But privilege plays a part in one's upbringing.

And I feel very privileged to have had the upbringing, the education, the choices and the chances that I've had. I'm privileged in oh so many ways. And sure some of it is circumstantial: sometimes things just work out for the best. Sometimes my name might be chosen out of a hat or something… but at other junctures I luck out because of the effort I put into getting to the point where this is even a possibility. I mean those who aren't properly housed or clothed don't tend to have the wherewithal to go and seek out some of the possibilities that one as privileged as myself might. The whole Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs comes to mind here.

But the thing is I live in an unequal world. Sure as a kid I bemoaned the whole it's not fair! thing about the world. And it isn't. I accept the fact that there are differences. I might fight against the racism, sexism, class-ism, and other structural issues that privilege some less than but in order to fight these things one needs to realize that the privileges are there. And there are all sorts of privileges. And sure some of it could be summed up by luck and others can be described as gained through hard work (whether by one person or by generations etc.).

But regardless of any of the above… I don't think that Friday the 13th is particularly lucky or unlucky. It's just a day like any other… even if it does happen to be emphasized in popular culture (movies/events/etc.).