Never mind the ladders and black cats

They say stay away from black cats and ladders on Friday the 13th.

For me it was the office water cooler.

I was even thinking to myself as I headed toward it that I don’t cater to that school of thought that the 13th falling on a Friday guarantees you’ll have a day of bad things happening, that it’ll be riddled with rotten luck.

My morning tradition at work is to make a cup of instant oatmeal for breakfast, and Friday the 13th was no different.

I poured the mix in the Stryofoam cup – Rachael Ray’s apple cranberry flavored oatmeal when I’m treating myself well, generic brand sugar-free maple and brown sugar when I’m not.

I held the cup under the hot spout on the water cooler and started filling it up, confident I’d soon have something sticking to my ribs to take away some of those a.m. stomach grumbles.

The cup got about half-way full when I realized it was no longer in my hand under the hot spout, but in mid-air doing this little impromptu circus tumbling routine, spinning around high in the air, then low before me, much to my dismay, not my amusement.

In an instant, a four-letter word spilled out of my mouth faster than the cup of oatmeal had slipped from my hand, spilling its glue-like contents onto the floor, splattering on the water cooler, blobbing on the bottom of my pant legs. Yuck.

Nothing like pasty oatmeal everywhere.

My co-workers were quite shocked, not so much by the mess I’d made, but by the “S” word I’d said, since swearing isn’t something I do casually.

If I’ve said the “S” word with conviction, there must be trouble in River City. In this case, it was just a problem in the area of the water cooler, which I cleaned up and went about my business, assuring my colleagues not to mistake the haze around my head for a halo.

Besides, spilled oatmeal on Friday the 13th – or any day for that matter – might warrant a slip of the tongue.

It would be the first in a serious of spills for the day.

What are the odds of going grocery shopping, being in the aisle with all the cleaning products and reaching for a big can of Comet that you discover too late doesn’t have a bottom on it?

The odds were very good on Friday the 13th, very much in my favor, I regret to inform you.

Of all the cans of Comet on the shelf, I had to pick up that one.

Just lucky I guess.

The good news is I didn’t say the “S” word.

The bad news is the green Comet powder went everywhere, including on the bottoms of my pant legs that already had suffered an onslaught of oatmeal earlier in the day.

I wrapped up the 13th with more spaghetti sauce on my shirt than my plate.

I glanced at the calendar for the next Friday the 13th, circled it and made a mental note to myself.

No food. No shopping. No “S” word – at least not until the 14th.

(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at