Why I Will Always Associate Friday the 13th With The Time I Was Involved In Attempted Manslaughter
The Catholic school that I attended between the time I met my best friend in second grade until our graduation day before going off to separate high schools made every single sixth, seventh, and eighth-grader volunteer for safety patrol. The job involved forcing middle schoolers to either open the car doors for arriving or fleeing students and taking turns as crossing guards before and after school for one full week at a time. I only ever did this crossing-guard duty on two occasions. The first time went completely fine without a problem. The second time involved the changing of local legislation, the cops, crying students, and Friday the 13th.
I wore a bright yellow vest over my school uniform that consisted of a neatly ironed white polo and a green plaid skort (or a yuppy cross between a skirt and shorts because it was the early 2000’s) that stayed put by Velcro. It was a little larger for my small eleven-year-old body, but I made do with what I had. It was on the second or third day of my turn as a crossing guard after school when another small student and I looked both ways to check for cars, extended our heavy stop signs out into the marked crosswalk around scores of tiny children before slowly stepping into the street. Out of nowhere, a car zoomed by narrowly missing my black chunky platform steel-toed shoes that I wore solely to kick boys in the shins stylishly. My heart leaped from my chest as I swiftly brought my foot back on to the sidewalk for safety, but the damage was done.
The whole thing shook the school into an uproar. I was never asked to be a crossing guard again after narrowly being run down by a speeding sports car barreling passed a school full of children. Students were asked to write letters to the local authorities so that they could install more lights and signs highlighting the school zone, and every parent that heard about it was rightfully pissed. Technically, we were no longer forced to be crossing guards, but it was still “highly encouraged.” After several children wrote about how their siblings have narrowly escaped death, the city ended up installing the signs and taking more precautions where needed.
I ended up running for and becoming the head of the safety council for the student body (mostly because the entire school never forgot that I almost got ran over by a car). I totally used that experience in following leadership positions in high school—but that’s beside the point. The day set a precedent that changed the way I looked at Friday the 13th forever. For years following that fateful day, I feared dying while crossing the street. Coincidentally, I was nearly run over by vehicles every Friday the 13th for several years afterward, which never shook my wary feelings towards the macabre societal holiday. I couldn’t figure out if I had always been unlucky (or lucky depending on who you ask) while crossing the street, or if I just noticed my bad luck more on the day Jodie Foster, Barbara Harris, Lindsay Lohan, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Jason Voorhees made famous.
With all the superstition surrounding the 13th day of the months that land on Fridays, it’s understandable that I would feel a little hesitant to walk outside today. For those who do say I’m lucky, I wonder how long I have until my luck runs out.