I love it when people are wrong. I love it even more when people are wrong by way of illogic and superstition.
As a skeptic, I have learned to throw away a whole lot of beliefs that a whole lot of people decide to hang onto. But as a polite member of society, I have to keep my damn mouth shut when people bring them up, no matter how silly I think they are. The world is not actually guided by the silly rules of superstitions. Good or bad things don’t happen in concordance with your crossing a threshold, dropping salt, the means by which you traverse ladders, open umbrellas, or what animals or vegetation you come across during your day.
The world doesn’t fucking work like that.
Maybe I am just ignorant. Apparently the quantities of Magpies one sees is a big factor. I am blocked from playing this game, as I have no idea what a magpie looks like and how to distinguish it from other birds. At this point, I wont even bother to look it up just so that I don’t find myself doing divination by counting birds. But apparently. Magpies are important. Here is what happens when you see Magpies, according to an English nursery rhyme.
One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret never to be told
Well, I for one am not convinced.
The other day I was driving the coworker / flatmate to the bus station when we found ourselves in an impressive traffic jam. We had only about ten minutes before her bus was leaving, and we became pretty concerned that she would miss her bus. She had recently been dumped, and thus her mood had been attuned to the negative.
We were pretty close to the station, but there was still a bunch of traffic blocking our way and only two minutes left till the bus left.
“I’m not going to make the bus,” she moaned. “I just saw a single Magpie fly by. Every since we found out that [our organization] is closing, I have seen nothing but single Magpies, and the news is always bad.”
As if traffic were dictated by some sort of spiteful spirit (hint: it isn’t – but I like similes and metaphors), I found opening in every little kink of traffic. I breezed through the last traffic circle, pulled up into the station and even had time to remind the idiot to pick up her bag from the trunk of the car.
A few minutes later she messaged me to tell me that she had made it safely on the bus.
Fuck your magpies, and your superstition.