Italians love their superstitions. On the first day of first grade, way back in 1971, my dad sprinkled salt in my shirt pocket, as I stood there wondering if he’d lost his damn mind. A decade later, when I was handed the keys to the hand-me-down ’72 Volkswagen beetle, he put a bag of salt in the glove box. Which made me worry that the cops would pull me over and search the car and think it was cocaine.
Of course, that never happened. Possibly because I respected one of the most important superstitions.
I’ve been thinking about the jinx lately because I’ve noticed more that a little jinxing by NFL types regarding the weather conditions for Super Bowl XLVIII in New Jersey’s open-air MetLife Stadium. Although the obsession with the possibility of a blizzard hitting the Northeast on the day the game is to be played already has become tiresome for the league, what did the NFL expect when it awarded a Super Bowl to an open-air stadium in New Jersey?
The league revels in its status as the “ultimate reality show.” It therefore makes sense that, during the last February before the February in which a Super Bowl will be played outdoors in the dead of winter, folks will fret about what could happen if a storm dumps a bunch of snow on the region on the day of the game. This has caused some league employees who apparently don’t respect the concept of the jinx to thump their chests on the February days when the temperature stays above freezing and the sky remains free from precipitation.
Our pal Brian McCarthy of the league office recently has been joking that the contingency plans include a possible asteroid hit.
Tread lightly, Brian. Though some risks (like an asteroid strike) are too small to fall within the range of a possible jinx, concerns regarding a blizzard on Super Sunday are reasonable, even if the chances of it happening are relatively remote.
And one thing any Italian with more salt in his car and clothing than he has in a shaker knows is that declaring a blizzard won’t happen is the surest way to ensure that it will.
Do I seriously believe that the NFL can actually jinx its way into a Super Bowl blizzard? No. But if a blizzard happens, I’ll blame it on the jinx.