Screw 13: The Number 43 Is The Nasty One


It’s Friday the 13th, but I’m not worried … because my unlucky number is 43.

Allow me to explain: I can’t. The number 43 has never actually harmed me in any way. I just looked at a clock that said 12:43 once (I think I was 11), felt a chill down my spine, and that was it. Since then, I don’t like to close books on page 43 — or pages 143 or 243, for that matter. I try not to make important phone calls at forty-three minutes after the hour, and when I’m going to sleep, I tend to wait til, say, 11:44 to turn the lights out, just to be safe.

I swear I’m not insane — I know unlucky numbers aren’t real, I don’t believe in fate, and I don’t think my house would actually catch fire if I went to sleep at 11:43. And I couldn’t care less about the number 13 — I’ll be behaving today with the same mix of anxiety (checking my alarm constantly, washing my hands approximately twice as often as normal) and incaution (crossing streets without looking) as usual. Sure, I could try to break myself of my 43-phobia, but it doesn’t really impact my life that much, and in a way it’s kind of nice, giving the illusion of order to a disorderly universe.

Also, I’m not alone — though more people seem to have lucky numbers than unlucky ones. Jenna, for instance, loves palindrome numbers. She says, “When I was a kid, I used to wait for my digital watch to read 01:00:10 and 11:11:11 and – my favorite – 02:52:50. If I missed a palindromic time I felt really disappointed in myself.” And Dodai is “obsessed with the number 3.” She explains,

In school for writing, I learned about the three-act structure in storytelling and the rule of 3 for joke telling. There are so many 3s in literature, from Macbeth’s three witches — which go back to the three fates and three graces — and three is a VERY female number, because the triangle represents the delta of venus.
I have three stars tattooed on my body.
I am CONVINCED that 3 is the magic number, as foretold by Schoolhouse Rock.

I have a lucky number too, but I’m not telling you what it is, because then it wouldn’t be lucky anymore.

Image via Tony Mathews/

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