As we ring in the new semester, the feeling is similar to getting an OS update on the iPhone. Everything is the same...but very slightly different. A few things are the in wrong place, a few electives have shifted. Some lunches are earlier and later, and everyone feels a bit more confident knowing there are fewer days behind than ahead. This year is doable, though there's still a long way to go.
We started the semester off in both of my classes today by talking about superstitions (well...until the big chill tomorrow made me condense the seniors workload). The seniors are about the read Macbeth while the juniors are taking a look at The Raven, so it was a natural fit for both. What I found, unsurprisingly, was that despite being normal, rationale people, many of my students (and me when you think about it) are a little superstitious. Some examples include:
-Tying shoes in an interesting way
-A special stretch before a swim meet
-Finding a special chair while watching the football game and refusing to move
-Avoiding unlucky jerseys
-Praying in a circle
-Kissing a stuffed camel named Clyde
People make themselves believe interesting things...
The question is "why"? Why do we enjoy these small bouts of mystery. Is it, like the adage about magic tricks, that people want to be fooled? Do people want to believe that there's somethings in the world that just can't be explained? That there's more that can be controlled than what we say and touch? Maybe it's simply that it's fun. It's an escape outside the typical "adult and professional" world we've all built for ourselves. Regardless, I'll still be refusing to watch the first five minutes of any Penguins game. Don't ask why....but it seems to work.