Tuesday, January 25, 2011


This post marks the 1,300th entry on the Gondola Blog.
And while I'm not really a math-minded individual, it seems fitting to take a look at the number 13 from a few different angles:

Since I'll be writing it more than a few times in this post, I'm gonna go with "13" rather than spelling it out each time.

So what's so special about 13?
The number 13 holds a special significance for many of us - some good, some bad.
- Here in the US we celebrate our origins from the "13 original colonies", in fact that's why we still have 13 stripes on our flag.
- Basketball fans may recognize 13 as the number worn by Wilt Chamberlain.
- In 1999, the Canadian government established Nunavut, giving the second largest country in the world, 13 provinces.
- There are 13 countries represented in South America.

- We have terminology like: a "baker's dozen", the "13th disciple", and who can forget Friday, the 13th?
- Last time I counted, there were gondolas in active operation in 13 US states.
- In May of last year, a 13 year old became the youngest person to climb Mount Everest.
- In the 13th week of pregnancy, each and every one of us developed something uniquely our own: fingerprints.
- There are 13 vitamins recognized as necessary for humans to survive.
- While we often find 13 to be an unlucky number, some Italians have told me that 13 is considered to be lucky in their country.
- There was Apollo 13 - unlucky in some ways, arguably lucky in others.
- In some European and South American countries, it's not Friday, but Tuesday the 13th that is considered to be unlucky.
- Many architects avoid having a 13th floor in buildings they design - the elevator goes from 12 to 14.

So why do we consider Friday the 13th to be unlucky?
Historically, the first signficant thing that happened on this date was an arrest order, given out by Philip IV of France in 1307, demanding that all members of the Knights Templar be seized.  And while that may seem long ago and far away, it is believed that the surviving Templars took refuge within Masons, and since our founders in the US were mostly Freemasons, it makes sense that Friday the 13th would retain it's negative reputation.

There's also a Norse superstition that if 13 people gather, one of them will die on the one-year anniversary of that meeting.

As for me, I love Friday the 13th.
Not because of any of the above points.
I love it because on Friday the 13th in August of 1993, I married my wife Elisa.
For over 17 years now we've had a wonderful life together and every time any Friday the 13th rolls around, we celebrate.
So here's to the number 13!
Thanks for reading, my friends.


Bepi Venexiano said...

Milestone or millstone, its a great accomplishment. Congrats.

Sean Jamieson said...

How about 13 more days of good weather. Oh and the 5 more after that.