Contemporary Concerns


I couldn’t be afraid of Friday the 13th…could I?  All signs indicate, according to my Magic 8 ball, that I should ask again later.  I am not sure if the Oujia Board disk or heart or whatever that plastic form with the clear piece in the center ever moved on its own, or whether I “helped” it along.  I was born on Friday, November 13th, almost 64 years ago.  It has been my legacy and a conversation starter as well as a confirmation, when I report that fact, and  people say… “Oh, I see!”.  I worried about a lot of things, but black cats, walking under ladders, spilling salt, and opening an umbrella in the house were other peoples’ concerns.  Have a birthdate on a day of superstition made the possibility of  awful things happening, the very least of my worries.

Fast forward to this life of 21st century concerns. Back in time I worried about taking the subway and getting on the wrong train and getting lost and ending up in the wilds of Brooklyn.  Now I think about losing my phone with the GPS feature, while on a trip, and getting lost in the wilds of North Dakota.  I imagine dropping my phone in the toilet and losing all the contact numbers that I don’t or can’t remember.  I worry that someone else is trying to reach me but the phone is missing, wet, or has been hacked by who knows what or who.  Forgetting passwords is now a 21st century concern along with forgetting my PIN which clearly, as noted in recent times, won’t stop someone from stealing my information which will really cause a downward spiral of the worst kind of bad luck.

This new layer of something to worry about, compounds daily.  There is now the personal development of the continuum of things that might be “of concern” that lead to things that “might happen” and end with natural and unnatural disasters.  I am still unsure of what the difference is.  I always wonder if when I read or hear about “terrible tragedies” if there are any tragedies that aren’t terrible.  Hyperbole for sure.

When I get in this frame of mind, I take a few steps back, and sometimes more than that. I reconsider what really should concern me because technology and all the elements that accompany its use, could and have failed each of us, at different moments but not in a natural or unnatural way.  Beyond our control is one of those expressions that really means, no one right now knows what happened and how to fix it.  So,  now what do we do?  Here’s a thought.  We shift our attention to the very small amount of control that we have over the things around us, our relationships, our recognition of real possibilities that matter like good health, good manners and cooperation with other people who we can see in our viewfinder.  It’s not to say that we should abandon hope or ignore those situations or others that are not in our immediate circle .  Two year ago, Friday November the 13th, the attacks in Paris had not a thing to do with a superstition.  It was human actions of the worst kind.  The date, ironic, the outcome catastrophic.

Today I asked folks at work about growing up with superstitions and their reflections were more about what family believed and passed on, that had to do with the care and safety of one another.  One person talked about homemade remedies, another about not telling his mother he thought he had a cold because she would show up with soup and he didn’t want to worry her, but somehow she knew and the soup arrived.  When you have that human connection, you just know what helps and what someone you love needs.  There is no technology that is more powerful than the awareness and and instinct that we human beings have for the people who matter most.  No one really pays much attention to Saturday the fourteenth after a Friday the 13th.  I will however, especially tomorrow, because someone in my family who has a piece of my heart is celebrating their birthday.  Use your powers of thought and connection and send some birthday wishes out to Sasha.  You don’t need a phone number, email address or more than that.  Good thoughts travel faster than anything.  Keep them going.


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