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October 13, 2017

13 lucky things that happened on 'unlucky' Friday the 13th

Despite superstitions, the date hasn't always been bad

Happy Friday the 13th, everybody.

Sure, a lot of bad things have happened on the date which comes once, twice or thrice in every calendar year. (Like the Nazis bombing Buckingham Palace in 1940, the 1972 plane crash in the Andes that resulted in cannibalism and a movie, the 1989 stock market “mini-crash” and 2012’s Costa Concordia wreck, for starters.)

But it’s not all superstition-fueled doom and gloom. You see, some very good things have happened throughout history on Friday the 13th!

Let us not dwell on the negative this year; there’s been enough of that in 2017 to last generations. Instead, let us celebrate the goodness of the scary date.

Here are 13 examples of lucky – or good things – that have happened on Friday the 13th.

1. Gamers rejoice. Super Mario Brothers was (likely) released on a Friday the 13th in 1985.

2. A big date for Ben Franklin lovers, and tax haters. It’s said that ole Ben wrote “In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes” on a Friday the 13th in November 1789.

3. At 13:13 on a Friday the 13th in August 2010, a 13-year-old boy was struck by lightning in Suffolk, England. And he was all, like, whatever, it’s only a minor burn.

4. You like heavy metal? Well, Black Sabbath’s namesake album release on a Friday the 13th in 1970 has been deemed the “birth of heavy metal.” Is there a devil horns emoji? If so, imagine it here. If not, lobby Apple and the rest of the computer nerds to create an appropriate one.

5. As of Friday, October 13, 1967, hiring discrimination based on gender was outlawed courtesy of an executive order from President Lyndon Baines Johnson. This isn’t so much lucky as it is good, and, at the time, overdue. You can read Executive Order 11375 via this link.

6. The accordion was patented on a Friday the 13th in January 1854 right here in Philadelphia! And, say what you will – as I have through the years, belittling accordionists as dorks with stand-up piano knockoffs – but the accordion is gonna have a birth of coolness, just you wait and see.

7. Lucky day for people who have the need, the need for speed. Such a quest reached new levels on a Friday the 13th in 1935 when the Hughes H-1 Racer “set a world airspeed record and a transcontinental speed record across the United States.” It was the last aircraft built by a private individual to do so.

8. A very big day for dinosaur-minded folks. The life-on-earth timeline got a notable addition on Friday, July 13, 1923 when Roy Chapman Andrews discovered the “first scientifically recognized dinosaur egg fossils” in Mongolia.

9. There is water on the Moon, NASA scientists declared on Friday, Nov. 13, 2009, courtesy of its Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS).

10. On a Friday the 13th in July 1923, the landmark HOLLYWOOD sign was inaugurated in Griffith Park, Los Angeles. Sure, it was a marketing event to hype a housing development. But, the years have turned that sign into a totem for people chasing their dreams to the City of Angels.

11-13. Do you like “Veep”? Or “Full House”? Or “The Big Lebowski”? Or “Seinfeld”? Well, none of them would have been the same without Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Steve Buscemi or the Olsen Twins (Mary-Kate and Ashley), all of whom were born on Fridays the 13th (1956, 1957 and 1986, respectively)

This one counts as three entries instead of four as I agree with John Oliver’s take on the aforementioned Olsen Twins.