April 24 • 10:36 AM

What would Clint Eastwood say?

August 15, 2007
So I'm standing at the counter in the Fair office chatting with Rod Warner—a member of the fair board who just happens to be the Mayor of Imlay City.

We're waiting for a couple who decided to get hitched on the Ferris wheel. Rod's going to marry them—something he's done before. Though this is the first wedding in his latest stint as mayor, Rod tells me he has 14 under his belt from his previous go around. Or, he grins, amending the count. Twelve, 12-A, and 14.

In delightfully typical Rod Warner fashion, he tells me about someone he ran across not too long ago that he remembered from a wedding he performed. They start chatting about all the marriages he's officiated, Rod says, and he tells her that he's performed 14 of them. Suddenly the woman gets a little freaked out.

"I hope we weren't number 13," she says with some urgency.

"Oh, no," he tells her.

Rod looks at me and with that characteristic grin and twinkle in his eye he says, "Let's just say they were number 12-A."

Hmmm. Another obvious triskaidekaphobe.

Triskaidekaphobes are fearful of the number 13. They believe it is unlucky. And from all the Friday the 13th stuff and other 13-related uneasiness, I know they're not in a minority.

Well, call me Clint Eastwood but I just have to ask. Are ya feeling lucky? Well, are ya? Because we're absolutely surrounded by the number 13. Not just on Friday the 13th or through landing on the 13th floor of a building, being the 13th person in line, or whatnot. If the number 13 is so unlucky and unfortunate, I'd say we're already quite doomed.

Pull out your wallet. If you're like me, odds are you'll have a couple of dollar bills in it (rather than tens or twenties, if you know what I mean).

Now I've never considered it unlucky to have a buck in my pocket—even when that's literally all I have. Perhaps I'm in error.

On the front of the bill there's the Department of Treasury seal. The seal contains the scales of justice. Good. Then there's a chevron. Okay. On the chevron, though, is 13 stars. They represent the 13 original colonies and actually I feel pretty lucky that they landed here.

Again, perhaps I'm wrong. When you turn the bill over there's a pyramid in a circle on the left. The pyramid is made of 13 'steps' separated from the all-seeing eye of knowledge. Maybe that's unlucky for the all seeing eye, I don't know.

On the right, there's another circle that holds the Seal of the President of the United States. On the seal there's an eagle holding an olive branch in one talon and a bunch of arrows in the other. There are 13 leaves on the olive branch. Thirteen fruits, too. Take a guess as to how many arrows? Thirteen. There are 13 plumes of feathers on each of the eagle's wings and 13 bars on the shield in front of him. Oh, did I mention the 13 stars above his head?

Ready for the Twilight Zone music to start playing? There are 13 letters in the phrase 'Annuit Coeptis' that appears over the pyramid. Thirteen letters in the 'E Pluribus Unum' on the banner running through the eagle's beak. (I can't not mention the influence of Freemasonry in all this symbolism. A number of presidents from Benjamin Franklin on up to recent times are linked to Freemasonry.)

Switching gears to 'higher' matters (unfortunately for me I'm not talking tens and twenties) the number 13 is significant and maybe not necessarily in a bad way.

Jesus and the 12 apostles add up to 13.

For the ancient Egyptians, after you made your way up the 12 steps of the ladder of life, lucky 13 was the step that led to eternal life.

Medieval theologians liked the number 13. It represented the ten commandments and the holy trinity...

...Okay. Back down to earth, well—sort of—I just have to add one more thing:

The explosion that almost took out the Apollo 13 lunar spacecraft in 1970. Remember, I said 'almost.' The spacecraft returned to Earth safely. I'd say those astronauts were pretty lucky.

While I'm not planning on tying the knot anytime soon, maybe I just oughtta do it ten more times real quick and call up Rod for the 13th wedding. And who knows, maybe it'll even be Clint Eastwood walking down the aisle. I'm feeling kinda lucky.

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