Where did the number 13 gets its bad rep from?  To investigate this question, I turned to Wikipedia, the Source of All Knowledge.  Seriously, I hardly even Google anymore, because Google leads me, inevitably, to Wikipedia.  (Interestingly, Wikipedia is disallowed as a research source by Tigger’s teachers, even though the articles are all linked and referenced up the wazoo, whatever a wazoo might be.  Perhaps a Wikipedia wazoo would be a Wikiwazoo.)


Anyway, there’s no definitive explanation for the bad vibes given off by 13, just a bunch of associations.  For example, in the Tarot deck, the 13th card of the Major Arcana is Death.  Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon with the 13th Legion.  (What is the Rubicon, you ask?  Beats me.  I’m a product of American public education.  History began with the War of Independence and ended just after World War II.  The school year always wrapped up before we got to Vietnam.)  Also, Judas was the 13th disciple to show up at the table.  (BTW, I recently read a column in the newspaper by a rabbi who said that, contrary to popular opinion, the Last Supper was NOT a Passover Seder.  The Seder as a method of commemorating the Jews’ escape from Egypt was developed decades after Jesus’ death.  Go figure.)


What I really went to Wikipedia to find out was, what’s the traditional gift for a 13th wedding anniversary?  Because today is it.  Not that Technogeek and I buy each other anniversary presents.  Like there aren’t enough damn required gift days on the calendar.  TGeek thinks I’m hard to shop for, but I’m not.  True, he can’t just buy me jewelry like one can for some women, because the last thing I need is more jewelry to not wear.  But one can always buy me a blues CD one is reasonably certain I don’t already own, and it’s all good.  He, on the other hand, is impossible to shop for.  Besides, we already have way too much stuff.  So we’ve largely given up buying each other gifts, but on each anniversary we get a teapot.  (And yes, they do take up a lot of space, but that’s the price one pays for so romantic a notion as getting a new teapot for each anniversary.)


Wikipedia has a table of traditional gifts.  The first column is for the UK, the second for the US, and the third is labeled “modern.”  I confess I’m perplexed by column three.  What is more modern than the US?  Perhaps there are some ultra-modern places out there in the world I don’t know about because of my deficient education. 


Apparently, both the UK and the US consider lace the appropriate gift for the 13th anniversary, while the unnamed modern place prefers textiles or furs.  None of which is particularly helpful in deciding what sort of teapot to get.  I’m inclined to go with something British-flavored, because lately we’ve been hooked on old British TV shows, thanks to the source-of-entertainment-better-than-that-crap-they-show-here, Netflix.  In fact, we will likely spend our anniversary evening watching the final episode of Brideshead Revisited.  What could be more romantic than a made-for-TV miniseries dramatization of a novel by Evelyn Waugh?  Can’t think of anything, can you?  I thought not.



18 thoughts on “THIRTEEN

  1. Lace?  That is so lame.  The appropriate anniversary gift
    for a couple who have been married long enough to have adolescent
    children is alcohol.  Have fun with your miniseries. šŸ™‚

  2. I like DayLily2’s idea.      Nuthin like getting likkered up to take your mind off your bratty kids.   LOL     Frankly, there are so many marriages in the US that  break up before even 5 years, I think going all the way to 13 is pretty commendable.   Congrats to both of you! 
    My hubby and I will celebrate 54 years this coming June.     What do you think we ought to get?   Matching walkers?     A double room at the local old folks room?     We have gotten to the point that we give each other a card and then buy something we both want, like a piece of furniture, or something for the yard.   

  3. I’m very fond of Wikipedia as a quick reference, but not on things like current events or politics, where special interests dive in and try to slant the entries.  If you want information on the Revolution or Napoleon or the Dark Ages, however, the information tends to be well substantiated.  Like anything else, it shouldn’t be completely dismissed–only recognized for its limitations.

  4. I think “modern” was invented by some corporate wazoos who wanted to give people too poor for silver or lace a chance to buy their paper and textile products… and perhaps faux furs.  But what do I know??  Stick with the teapots.  Oh, and as an educator… I have no problem with wikipedia as a secondary source in most cases, although I encourage my students to use it as a *starting point* and to check out the footnotes and further references.   I myself have contributed to/amended wikipedia entries… and even been cited in a footnote for one šŸ˜‰ 

  5. Yes, the Rubicon was a river.  I know this because for unfathomable reasons, my husband is extremely fond of the phrase, “crossing the Rubicon,” and early in our relationship (which will enjoy its thirteenth wedding anniversary in about three weeks also!!) I called him out on it just to see if he knew what it was.  And he did.  And he gave me this little free history lesson including information on why it was important, etcetera, which was kind of annoying, actually.  Now that I think about it, I’m surprised I married him.  But glad, of course.  We don’t buy anniversary presents either.  We usually try to go somewhere instead, even if it ends up being a motel 6 around the corner, while someone else watches the kids.  A teapot sounds like a great idea, though, and you could include some lace doilies just in case there’s good karma involved in keeping to the list, which might cancel out the “thirteen.”  Happy Anniversary!!

  6. BTW, I agree with the Rabbi. In the Bible John 13:29- AFTER the Last Supper bread and wine had been shared- Judas left with the “money box” and some who saw him leave with it thought he was going to use the money to buy what was needed for the Passover feast. Why would they think that if they had just celebrated a Passover feast? I agree with the good Rabbi. So much for “popular opinion”. šŸ˜‰ Lisa

  7. Wikipedia can be edited by ANYONE and hence at any one point in time it may contain complete garbage, although in the long run it’s fairly decent. And yes, those of us in the search engine biz complain bitterly about the weight Google gives it.  Local schools are pretty much the same. Don’t use it as a primary source because it changes from day to day and if you quote it after some spammer or anyone with an agenda has edited it, it could be completely whacko.  Too bad. If they implemented some sort of QA process, it could be great. 

  8. I thought that the 13 thing was in part because it was also the traditional number of witches in a coven, and so the (Ahem) non-pagan elements wanted to make sure it was seen as an ‘evil’ number associated with all those black arts and nasty witches.

  9. Wait…whaaaa?!  Y’all never got to Vietnam in history class?!  Hell, war only got “good” with WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.  All those other wars, you were still fighting with horses, there were limits on the ways you could kill the enemy, and you didn’t have the fun of all those dictators! (Yes, I’m being sarcastic.  But studying war is interesting, at least to me.)Oh, yeah, I forgot–lace=lame, and happy anniversary!

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