Superstitious? Not me. I have never been superstitious and hopefully never will be. Knock on wood.

This month includes a big day for the superstitious of the world ? a Friday the 13th. Tradition has it that Fridays which fall upon on the 13th day of the month are "bad luck" because Jesus Christ was crucified on a Friday and there had been 13 persons at the Last Supper.

That kind of superstitious thinking should have gone out with the flat earth theories but superstitions remain deep in our subconscious and we often behave superstitiously without thinking about it.

Oh, you don’t? Have you ever avoided walking under any ladders lately or thought twice when a black cat crossed your path last week?

Yeah, me too!

I have seen superstitious behavior in our supposedly enlightened society all my life.

Chain letters, so popular a few decades ago, reeked with superstition. "Henry Phipps of England broke this chain and died two days later." Made you think twice before you tossed that chain letter in the waste basket, didn’t it?

What the originator of that letter didn’t report is that poor old Henry had participated in 302 previous chain letters and he really died of an overdose of envelope glue.

Some folks still carry a lucky rabbit’s foot to ward off bad luck. I have often wondered how lucky that rabbit felt. And I’ve wondered why PETA doesn’t make a big deal about people who carry a dead animal’s foot in their pocket for good luck.

Maybe if we hang a lucky cow’s hoof over the front door we’ll be lucky and PETA will go away.

Then there’s former Iowa Hawkeye Coach Hayden Fry. I understand he wore white trousers on game days for good luck. The practice allegedly went back to a point early in his coaching career when his team won and he was wearing white pants. Wore them ever since.

My pants are unlucky. If I don’t spill on them I rip out the seat.

Some folks involve lucky names or practices to pick dogs and horses at race tracks. I went to the dog races in North Sioux City, South Dakota, with some co-workers one night. I won 20 dollars and then quickly lost it again so I quit betting. I went home with as much as I had come with; I consider that lucky.

Some of my co-workers called me a tightwad Dutchman for not betting more. Judging from the losses some of them suffered I guess I’m lucky to be a tightwad Dutchman.

I’ve never had much luck with raffles and door prize drawings. One year, however, I did win a quarter of beef in our Rotary Club raffle in Sioux City. I felt pretty lucky until I added up the number of raffle tickets I had bought over the years before I ever won anything. Shucks, I could have purchased the entire cow!

The advent of state lotteries have made a lot of people feel lucky. My first exposure to a state lottery was back in the early ’80s when a friend sent me a scratch-off lotto ticket from the state of Washington. It was a loser.

When the lottery jackpot approached a billion dollars a few months ago I bought one ticket. No luck. I have a better chance of being the first fat guy on the moon than winning a lottery jackpot.

Do you cross your fingers for good luck? People who study such things believe that this superstition dates back to the early days of Christianity. Supposedly, two people used to cross index fingers when making a wish. This was a symbol of support for the one making the wish.

Back in those days anything associated with the shape of a Christian cross was considered to be good luck. Over time, the tradition became something people did on their own.

Is there really such a thing as luck? Are there things we can do to improve our luck? I agree with Benjamin Franklin who said, "Diligence is the mother of good luck."

I’m not superstitious and I’m not afraid of Friday the 13th. I’m going to enjoy the day just as I would any other day. It will be a lovely day. In fact, it could be better than the day before.

Knock on wood.