Gongol.com Archives: October 2021

Brian Gongol


October 19, 2021

News After twelve comes thirteen

Is to the great astonishment of persons of sound mind that, in 2021, buildings like hotels and condominium complexes are still being constructed with elevators that do not list a floor numbered 13. How it is possible that we continue to accommodate the preposterous superstition against that beleaguered number in this day and age? ■ Can it really be true that after all of the technological and educational progress of the last century, people still believe that there are numbers that are unlucky or bad? It boggles the mind. There is no reason whatsoever to consider any number any less (in intrinsic worth) than any other. They are merely numbers -- quantifications, neither good nor bad. And the continued accommodation of the anti-13 superstition makes fools of us all. ■ To wit: Anyone of right mind can plainly see that a building that contains 14 floors must have a 13th floor, whether or not it is numbered as such. To try to represent otherwise by renumbering the 13th floor as the 14th (or, indeed, even as "Floor 12.5" only demands of us to imagine that things are not as they plainly are and can be seen to be. This willing suspension of disbelief is a ridiculous accommodation for people who have chosen to believe in things that are not real. ■ Magical thinking can have its place amid the fairies, unicorns, and talking mice of childhood. Children need their imaginations to picture what isn't real so they can someday absorb the difference between fact and fiction. But to accommodate adults who choose not to believe the facts as they plainly are is only to agree that we are going to allow some people to be not only irrational but outright contemptuous of reality. And that's just nonsense. ■ If people want to adhere to a ridiculous secular superstition like "unlucky 13", then let them be the ones to come forth and specifically confess their own nonsense. Let them be the ones to tell reservation call centers or front-desk clerks that they refuse to sleep on a floor with a particular number. Let them face their own absurdity plainly and clearly. Don't make the rest of us pretend as though a number of floor does not exist when plainly it does. ■ If truly one believes that the 13th floor is an unlucky place to put one's head for the night, then one should willingly pay more to sleep on a different floor by making such a request at the time of their reservation or check in. But in the meantime, the rest of us shouldn't be asked to pretend as though facts as basic as counting aren't meaningful in a polite society.


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