Wishing On an M&M and Other Strange Rituals

I am very superstitious, a fine line away from obsessive compulsive, attributing meaning and immense value to objects and actions. I have always been this way. I would pull off the metal tabs on soda cans growing up, and if the tiny circle came off with the tab, it was “good luck,” and I saved it in a white ceramic box on my dresser. I had about 1,000 tabs in my lucky collection, verging on hoarders, but I was sure lucky!


I also wished on green M&M’s, gave someone a punch in the arm if I saw a Volkswagon bug, and wore the same lucky red bandana to field hockey games, folded in a precise way, to make sure our team won, and I scored. I also lined the shoes up in the back porch–left to right–and checked under my bed and in my closet for scary creatures before I went to sleep. 

Most of these rituals were innocuous, and many other people have them too–I think…? Other rituals, however, seemed, well, downright cray and were quite invasive. For example, the most irrational and illogical superstition I had as a child was that I could not be in the bathroom when the toilet flushed, or I’d have bad luck. Now, this is not exactly convenient. So, I developed a system in which I would quickly flush with the handle while simultaneously hopping out of the bathroom, like I jack rabbit. I seriously, like, jumped a hurdle each time I flushed.

I thought of these things today for two reasons. One, I have been wearing this same ring on my finger for months, and I thought, “I am tired of this ring; maybe I will take it off and put on a different one.” But, then, something inside me said, “Wait, but maybe you should always keep it on, since you have for so long, or you will have bad luck!” I know this is insane, and yes, it seems OCD. However, it’s not something that interferes with my life, so…? On or off? I don’t know.

I also think of these superstitions now when I see others, or children, doing these sorts of rituals, like touching a wall twice before leaving a room, or opening and shutting a gate an extra time. Sometimes, to their chagrin, I will say, “Did you just do that because you think you’ll have bad luck?” And they will often reply affirmatively with a level of shame as if they’d been caught. There is no shame in these things. We all just manage how we can for a variety of reasons.


I do wonder, though, if I had grown up in today’s world if I would have been medicated. Like, I was always so anxious about stuff. I grew out of most of it, sans therapy or medication, but I think in today’s psychological climate and with our increased awareness of anxiety, they would have signed me up.

Anyone else do anything weird they want to share? Well, within reason… Ha!


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