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!
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!
I really, really, really wish that I was making all this up.
Goodnight and good luck…
Brian Hughes is an academic psychologist and university professor in Galway, Ireland, specialising in stress, health, and the application of psychology to social issues. He writes widely on the psychology of empiricism and of empirically disputable claims, especially as they pertain to science, health, medicine, and politics.