Beware the number ‘13’ (Official Government Advice)

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Earlier this year, I blogged about how an elected parliamentarian proposed that the Irish government make arrangements to move the country three inches to the left in order to avoid hitting a fairy. Well, nearly. He actually proposed that the government change the format of car registration (i.e., license) plates in order to avoid having the number ’13’ emblazened on them. You see, the conventional system requires that plates include the final two digits of the calendar year in which the car is purchased. So for cars bought in 2013, the default would be to have ‘13’ right there…on your CAR! That you drive around in! With your KIDS!

Standard plate specs since 1987, based on a 2005 car (Wikipedia)

Standard plate specs up to now, based on a 2005 car (Wikipedia)

So naturally enough, having ‘13’ plastered on your car would inevitably mean that you would die a horrible death due to the dreadful misfortune brought down on your soul by the very thirteen-ness of that horrible number. In the tradition of Irish news reporting, you might even be killed after colliding with a tree. Of course, the number 13 is so cursed that simply having the car would be sufficient to ruin your life, even if you didn’t drive it. You could simply leave it outside your house, choose to walk to work instead, and then be killed by a falling anvil. That’s just what happens when you’re mad enough to go around with ‘13’ written on your car. You know it’s true.

In my blog post last year I was inclined to dismiss the concept as the garbled mental outpourings of an attention-seeking shyster. After all, the idea was just SO STUPID AS TO BE IMPOSSIBLE TO TAKE SERIOUSLY.

Or so I thought

It turns out, they’re bringing it in! Yes, it’s actually true. From tomorrow, new cars will be spared the macabre destiny of having to carry the insignia ‘13’ around in full view of chaste and right-minded citizens. THEY HAVE CHANGED THE LAW TO PREVENT THIS HAPPENING. Instead, in a perhaps risquée move, the law now says that from January to June new cars will have ‘131’ where ‘13’ would ordinarily fall, while from July to December they will get to have ‘132’. You see? The devil will never spot that!

Ta-da!!! The NEW misfortune-proof 2013 plates! (Wikipedia)

Ta-da!!! The NEW misfortune-proof 2013 plates! (Wikipedia)

I really, really, really wish that I was making all this up.

Goodnight and good luck…



Categories: Numerology, Politics, Pseudoscience, Scientific literacy, Skepticism, thejournal.ie

5 replies

  1. Do some research. The government introduced this to spread the motor trade’s busiest time (January-March) over two periods in the year (the second (132) starting mid year). It’s the same system used in England. It’s may or may not work, but pretending that it’s introduced by superstitious politicians to hide from the devil is irresponsible tripe.

    • You’re right. It’s just a coincidence.

    • Irresponsible tripe? Really?

      It’s a hell of a coincidence that the government amends a registration system that has been unchanged since 1988 in 2013.

      A registration system that was introduced back in the 80s at the behest of the motor industry in order to drum up sales.

      I don’t know which is more worrying: the triskaidekaphobia, or the fact that when the motor industry says jump, the government says ‘how high?’.

      • ‘Hell of a coincidence’
        Actually “Industry tanks, three years later, government reacts.” Sounds quite plausible to me.

        ‘Government says ‘How High?’ ‘
        The government helping out an industry isn’t necessarily a bad thing. This idea might not work, but that doesn’t make trying a bad idea, and funny headlines aren’t the same as legitimate criticism.

  2. Gosh!

    Are you sure you’re OK linking to the newspapers sites as the other peculiar thing I heard from Ireland this week is this crazy notion of charging people to link to the news http://www.mcgarrsolicitors.ie/2012/12/30/2012-the-year-irish-newspapers-tried-to-destroy-the-web/

    I hope you don’t make any money from this site or they’ll be after you ;)

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