When I was about ten, I was helping my grandmother with laundry when I tossed a coat hanger onto the bed.
She exclaimed loudly and pulled the hanger off the bed. Why? “Because if you leave a coat hanger on the bed, it means someone is going to die.”
Now, I know this is ridiculous. People die all the time regardless of whether I leave a coat hanger on the bed. I would think someone would have noticed if the coat hanger was invented and suddenly there was a huge plague of death that overspread the Earth and millions of people died for the first time…ever. Death entered the world because of sin, not coat hangers.
And yet, I still won’t leave a hanger on the bed. This is a harmless superstition: there’s no good reason to leave one there anyhow, and I can see how someone might even get hurt if I did. But I’m compulsive about it because I don’t want to take the risk that someone will die because of my sloth.
We’ve all got something like that lurking in our heads, the superstition that we know is absurd but we still bow to. What’s yours? Where did it come from? And are you comfortable having your own personal ritual?