n. a strong aversion to endless news reporting about friggatriskaidekaphobia on Friday the 13th.

First, some definitions:

triskaidekaphobia n. fear or a phobia concerning the number 13. [source]

friggatriskaidekaphobia n. morbid, irrational fear of Friday the 13th. [source]

friggatriskaidekaphobiarelatusphobia n. a strong aversion to endless news reporting about friggatriskaidekaphobia on Friday the 13th. [source]

Yes, I made up that one.

From CBS to the Huffington Post to National Geographic, it seems that everyone in the news reporting world must drag out the same old tired stories about people that have an irrational fear of the number 13 and how Friday the 13th is an even more fearful day than Friday the 7th or Tuesday the 13th. Personally, I wish they’d just shut up about it already.

Friday the 13th is going to occur anywhere from once to three times a year. It’s frequent enough that it’s no longer news, so stop pretending that it is. Tell me something important that’s happening in the world today, rather than wasting my time and yours.

Article first published as Friggatriskaidekaphobiarelatusphobia, Or “Not Another Friday the 13th Story!” on Blogcritics.

swimming (or, trying not to drown myself)

This morning, I went lap swimming for the first time in six years. I tried to go on Tuesday, but the lifeguard was late, and I had to get to work. I was too tired/busy to go on Wednesday, and I knew that if I didn’t go today, it would be that much harder to get up and out of the apartment tomorrow morning.

When I arrived, lap swimming had been open for nearly 20 minutes already, and all but the one lane with the stairs were full. I knew I wasn’t going to be doing flip turns on my first day back, so I didn’t mind not having the wall on that end of the pool. I deposited my stuff on a bench near the stairs, and boldly stepped into the water, which was cool but not as frigid as I feared.

I dunked myself to wet down my hair, and then pulled on my goggles, making sure that I emptied as much water from them as I could. Then, I launched myself in to a freestyle stroke.

And floundered.

They say that you never forget how to ride a bike, but apparently, you can forget how to breathe when swimming. I could feel my lungs constricting as I panicked, and I quickly put my feet down and held my head above the water.

Thinking it was just a fluke, I tried again, with similar results. Resolved to do at least a lap before giving up entirely, I set off again with a modified breast stroke that left my mouth above the water so I could breathe normally.

It took me a lap and a half before I was willing to try freestyle again. Maybe it was because I’d gotten more comfortable with being in the water and my lizard brain calmed down, but I was much more successful after that point. I did a few more laps, pausing to catch my breath at the end of each length.

It’s a start. When I was at my peak swimming, I could freestyle a mile, pausing only infrequently. I know it will take me some time to get back to that condition, but I’m excited to do it. Swimming is by far my favorite athletic activity, but because I’ve been uncomfortable displaying my body in a swim suit, I’ve let myself make excuses.

No more excuses. I’m ready to get back in the pool.