"New Year's Resolutions, Superstitions and other Silly Notions"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, January 15, 2011

Every year starts out with a bang — fireworks are seen shooting off all over the country and the world. Toasts to the New Year are made and after several are downed, resolutions are announced.

Many resolutions are pretty common and will crop up in any group of revelers gathered to celebrate the New Year. One often at the top of the list is resolving to quit smoking. Many people make that one regularly each year but some don’t make it past the first day. It’s good they realize and admit quitting is a must though and not matter how many times they fail, they should keep resolving to do it. I know it can be done.

Another very popular resolution is to lose weight. This too is a resolve that often fails but if a person continues to try, it can be accomplished — check out Jennifer Hudson. Other items high on the list are better control of spending and cutting back on alcohol use. Canceling credit cards is another common pledge, but can be difficult to execute. Many people announce they are going to exercise more — and they do, for a few weeks, even months but eventually most of us tire of it and head back to the couch.

Resolutions to spend more time with family and friends or to simply enjoy life more are well intentioned but our busy lives force them to the “back burner” until they are forgotten. You’ll often hear someone say they want to get better organized or learn new things both worthy endeavors. Try looking up a new word each day and learn its meaning.

Find a job or a better job has become a resolution of too many people and saving money as a resolution is hard to do when there is so little of it. Taking a fun family vacation used to be a favorite thing to resolve the first of each year but lately, with the high cost of traveling, hard to achieve.

Superstitions we come up with are endless. If you delve into their origin you’ll find many have come from the Irish who are said to be the most superstitious of all. I’ll mention a few of the most popular; fear of bad luck on Friday the 13th, or just fear of the number 13 (many high rise buildings have no 13th floor). Avoiding a black cat crossing your path, an itchy palm bringing good luck and money and of course, the revered four-leaf clover.

There are people who believe you have to get out of bed on the same side you entered on or you will have a bad day. Eating black-eyed peas on New Years day brings luck throughout the year and one of my best; on the stroke of the New Year, kissing your partner in love or forfeit their affection for the year. I’m not sure I believe this one but why take a chance. Making noise scares away the devil which may work because I’ve never seen him on New Year’s Eve. Perhaps the most well known superstition of all is a rabbit’s foot bringing good luck. How lucky was it for the rabbit?

Among the silly notions are; step on a crack you’ll break your mother’s back. Wouldn’t that only apply if she was lying on the sidewalk? Sailors believe a “Red sky at night brings a sailors delight” when thinking about tomorrow’s weather. Many of us believe finding a penny with the face showing is good luck. I think finding a coin of any kind is good luck, finding folding money even better.

The belief that if you spill salt you should throw some over your shoulder to ward off bad luck should be tempered by consideration for who might be behind you. Then there is the question: “If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound and does anyone hear it?” I think that would depend on how “dense” the forest may be. The belief that “Still waters run deep” is not always true just ask any boater who tried to cross the Port Austin reef on a calm day.

As I see it, the saying “Easier said than done” was coined by a lazy person!

The incident that took place in Tucson last Saturday, January 8th is so appalling I hesitate to comment about it. Perhaps as the tears dry and tensions ease, I’ll find a way to express “As I see it.” For now, let us keep those folks in our prayers.


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