"Beware the Ides of March"
Have you ever woken up and just knew it was going to be a bad day?
You might even think there are specific days on the calendar when bad things are more likely to happen.
Not to frighten you, but today is March 15th, known by historians and literary fans as the Ides of March—possibly one of the most infamous "unlucky" days of all time. There are many pop culture references to this day, including the phrase "Beware the Ides of March" from William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar.
It's the day Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC, after multiple predictions from a seer that his demise would come on this day. Caesar did not take these warnings seriously; even boasting to the seer that "The Ides of March have come." To that, the seer is reported to have replied, "Aye, Caesar; but they have not gone."
Later that day, a group of around 60 conspirators stabbed Caesar to death at a meeting of the Senate. This resulted in the civil war that led to Caesar's adopted heir, Augustus, to rise to power.
As the years went on, more bad things happened on the Ides of March. Just some of these events include a Samoan cyclone in 1889, a French raid on southern England in 1360, and the German occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939.
Are certain days really unluckier than others? Let's take a look at some other days on the calendar that have a track record of tragedy:
- 1865: Abraham Lincoln fatally shot while attending a play at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C.
- 1912: The RMS Titanic hits an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean.
- 1935: Texas and Oklahoma are hit by one of the worst massive sandstorms of all time, creating the area known as the "Dust Bowl."
- 1649: Massacre of Drogheda, Ireland; Oliver Cromwell kills 3,000 royalists.
- 2001: Terrorists hijack and crash passenger planes into New York's World Trade Towers and the Pentagon. Nearly 3,000 are killed.
- 2012: The U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is stormed, looted and burned down, killing five people, including the U.S. ambassador.
- 1941: Imperial Japanese Navy attacks the American fleet at Pearl Harbor Naval Base, Hawaii, killing 2,403. The next day, the United States enters World War II.
- 1988: A 6.9 earthquake in Armenia leaves 25,000 dead and 5 million homeless.
- 1993: The Long Island Rail Road massacre. Passenger Colin Ferguson murders six people and injures 19 others on a commuter train in New York.
It makes you wonder: Knowing what we do, why does anyone even go outside on these days? Do you ever play it extra safe if you’re going out on Halloween or Friday the 13th "just in case?"
Here's some news to calm your nerves: As it turns out, bad luck is only real if you make it. Statistics show that people who believe in bad luck will have more accidents on days like Friday the 13th.
This tracks with another common misconception: a full moon makes people act crazy. The Washington Post wrote an in-depth article detailing the lack of scientific evidence to this theory. Any increase in violence or unruly behavior is a testament to people believing that a full moon will yield those behaviors.
Our brains tend to over-simplify. Usually this is very useful and time-saving; however, it can cause us to blame our misfortune on factors outside of our own control like a "bad day" in order to avoid analyzing the real reasons things happened the way they did—or even to avoid taking responsibility ourselves.
When we understand this, it's easy to see that these days on the calendar are mere superstition.
So how to turn a bad day into a good one? Be kind to others. Not only will you make someone else feel good, it's proven to help you feel better too.
It's also helpful to re-evaluate the situations or events that lead to having a bad day. Find some conceivable outcome that makes more sense than blaming a day on the calendar. Each day is a blank slate; make it your own, even if a seer tells you otherwise.