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.