Monday, November 7, 2011


As advanced as our society has become, there is still an element of superstition associated with the number thirteen, As recently as the '80's designers and builders of tall buildings would omit the 13th floor. Due to this fact, this number was appropriated by many groups as a mild form of rebellion. Nowadays, however it has become time worn Rockabilly cliche. There is even a certain clothing manufacturer called Lucky 13 that sells this trite symbol in an overtly commercialized attempt to sell rebelliousness and charge a lot of money for bad-ass imagery.

Some of their stuff is cool, but I have difficulty in seeing the rebel spirit that it intends to convey when thousands of people are wearing it. That is only my opinion, because the company seems to be doing well and lots of people are buying their clothes, thereby proving the strong allure and certain cachet still associated with the number thirteen.

To me, it's just another number. It has other connotations that occur in day to day life and here are some things that add up to thirteen.

1. Thirteen beers may seem like a lot, but depending on the circumstances , can be one hell of a party. 13 shots of whiskey, not so much, as the monstrous headache that you will have the next day will prove. Speaking as a seasoned Canadian beer swiller, I can assure you that when I go to the U.S.A., that number can easily go to 26, and I am still standing. This is why I prefer American beer, that's a hell of a party, unfortunately 13 is also the number of times per hour that you will have to go the bathroom.

2. 13 is the number of bars that you will be playing in a 12 bar song when attending aforementioned party and participating in a jam. Yeah jams can be fun sometimes, as long as everybody knows the tunes and understands the style. Booze and guitars are a good mix for the first few beers, but things start deteriorating after that. You just can't nail the rhythm and end up with 13 bar tunes as the whole thing folds up into its own asshole. The funny part is that nobody really notices and everyone thinks they are rockin' when in fact, everybody was stinkin'. This also produces another side effect because, coincidentally, 13 is also the number of guitar strings that you will bust at one of these greasy beer parties.

3. 13 seems to the the exact number of times that a greaser will attempt to get his hair right while getting ready to go out. I know this from personal experience as me and my friends mumble and curse  trying to get that damned hair just right. Sometimes up to 13 different types of hair grease will be used in even more futile attempts at getting the recalcitrant pomp to cooperate. When it is finally done and that Saturday night is over, 13 is the amount of showers that it will take to remove  the accumulation of all that greasy shit from your hair.

4. 13 is the amount of hours that you will spend on hold attempting to speak to a live human being at the company that provides your internet. When someone does eventually answer, you've forgotten what the original question was.

5. Thirteen is also the amount of hours that you will spend trying to remove ball joints. Of all the seemingly simple mechanical operations on older cars, this seems to be the most frustrating. 13 is also how many times per hour that you yell "faaa-aack" very loudly , annoying your neighbors and scaring children. In the end, you might just give up and drink those 13 beers. The following weekend you will require the help of 13 of your buddies to finally get the damned things off and that will end up costing you 169 beers.

6. This is also the average interval in months when hippies decide to take a shower. This usually ends up costing them roughly 13 cents worth of soap, but the real hardcore hippies will buy 20 dollar bars of organic soy based soap, meaning that they are suckers as well as dirty. This number also works well in drum circles, because 13 bongos seems to be the amount required to produce the right amount of dissonance thereby producing the maximum annoyance factor. 13 is also the factor at which the average person's blood pressure rises upon coming into contact with the horrific sound of the drum circle. 13,000 is how many RPM are required for a chainsaw to be able to slice through dreadlocks; those suckers are a densely packed amalgam of dirt, knots, sweat, tofu, bird droppings and sand.

7. Some people may not want to admit it or discuss it openly, but we are all surrounded by idiots at work and 13 seems to be the amount of idiots that will be in your immediate vicinity at any given time. They always seem to speak about 13 decibels too loud. You feel like screaming obscenities at them and sometimes have the urge to punch them in the head, but you will get fired and soon end up with 13 cents in your pocket. This is probably why you drink 13 cups of coffee per day at work and usually require 13 beers after work. Better not drive your car though, because 13 is the number of times per day that you will be picking up soap in the prison shower.

8. If you own a pick up truck, 13 is the amount of requests per week that you will receive from people asking you to move them. There is often the promise of beer and pizza, but your truck don't run on pizza and as mentioned above, not a good idea to drive after many beers. It gets more and more difficult to weasel out of all this unnecessary, and unpaid, work. A good idea would be to throw 13 tires in the bed and tell people that your truck is full, and at any rate, isn't 13 bucks what a gallon of gas costs these days?

9. 13 seems to be the right number of sub-woofers for those boom box cars with the bowel-liquefying bass. This is not even bass ( the frequency isn't that low, it's jut a lot of loud mid-bass) and is more akin to some secret military weapon. I'm not one to shy away from loud Rock 'n' Roll, but these guys are two feet away from 13 really big speakers. I suspect that that has also partially liquefied their brains. They fail to notice that their car is breaking itself to pieces and I suspect that this hip-hop induced brain damage is what causes them to buy glittery shirts and wear their pants 13 inches below their butts. Strangely coincidental is that a lot of these cars ride on 13 inch wheels, but the cars are not air bagged because they blew all their cash on the audio system. It seems like they are thinking that if they crank the bass higher maybe, just maybe, they can get the front end to hop off the ground.

10. 13 was the number of heavily armed SWAT team cops outside my apartment door a few years back. It seems that a psychotic neighbor had called the police claiming to have heard gunshots emanating from my place. It was in fact some kids setting off firecrackers nearby. I thought it was fairly amusing when I answered my door and saw those very serious cops crouched all around in full battle regalia toting semi-automatic weapons. The sarge asked me to step in the hallway and asked if they could search my place. I thought it even more amusing as I stood in the hallway barefoot still clutching my beer, that the SWAT guys were searching my room in vain while the Rockabilly was blaring from my stereo. They apologized profusely when they realized that it was a false alarm and left. They had a long talk with the psycho neighbor as I went back to beers and tunes, relived that I been able to be coherent and hadn't had my 13th beer yet.

1 comment:

  1. #5... Try doing it with 13 Pabsts in your system and see how many times you miss the pickle fork with the sledgehammer. My Oldsmobile has peen marks on the front crossmember as a constant reminder of the day I decided to tackle front-end work.