2013 should, if we're to follow superstition, be the unluckiest year in the calendar. Americans have this superstitious thing about the number thirteen. Ok. Maybe it's not an easy number to live with. You can't multiply anything by anything and get thirteen. It's clearly not a number that most Americans want to get in bed with (there are no thirteenth floors in most hotels). On the other hand, of all the numbers in the world, Americans should be absolutely bowing down to the number thirteen. They should have special holidays on the thirteenth of each month, wear thirteen-leaf clovers in their lapels and spend the day with three extra prosthetic fingers and toes trying to grasp the meaning of life. That would, in fact, be more productive than trying to understand what makes Lindsay Lohan tick. I submit to you that Americans don't know how to appreciate any more (unless its capital). Maybe if they honored what they THINK is difficult, they would learn to appreciate what they have just a little bit more. Not be just vaunting ambition that o'erleaps the American Dream and falls on the other side. Let's start with poor, discriminated against, abused and neglected thirteen. I mean, how in the Audie Murphy hell did thirteen wayward colonies rebel, fight and beat the mighty British empire? We became thirteen original states, against all odds creating a way of government that lasted a good long time before it merged with Wal-Mart. You want to understand bad luck? Follow Lindsay, the mistress of bad causes. Good luck? Stick with thirteen. How about the fact that there are thirteen full moons every year! Thirteen diamonds on a rattlesnake's back! Thirteen cards in a suit. And four times thirteen is that magic number fifty-two! Oh my god, it's the natural cycle of things--fifty-two weeks in a year, fifty-two stages of boddhisatva practice, fifty-two cards in a deck, fifty-two men on a dead man's chest. Need I go on? Artist Archibald MacNeal Willard made a painting in 1875 commemorating U.S. independence called the Spirit of '76. It should have been called the Spirit of '13. Willard fought on the Union side in the bloody carnage that was the American Civil War. He endured locusts, gunfire, and bad medical advice so that he could paint scenes from the war. Inspired by a parade he saw, he used his own father for the model of a white haired man leading a spirited march in the center of the painting. There's a little drummer boy to his right, direct from playing a one-night engagement for the baby Jesus, and a man to his left playing the fife. Painted one year before this country's centennial where it was displayed, it reflects an American can-do, tough-it-out, soldier-on, never-say-die, pioneering, hang-in-there, grin-and-bear-it spirit. I'm telling you, you don't need a drum and fife to lead the parade. You have thirteen. No one should spend this precious year waiting for Godot or for Congress to pass a bill. No one. The Spirit of '13 is you change it. Stop waiting around for the ball to drop. Like the ball could unleash your potential. Are you kidding? It's a TV show gimmick! So pick up your recycled spackle bucket and some chop sticks and fall in. Others will join you and the Spirit of '13 will live. Pretty soon Rush Limbaugh will be marching and Jackie Evancho. You can bend your Spirit towards Rush and believe that the world is a dolby loud preview of coming attractions of The End of The World, The Movie, with Arnold Schwartzenegger as a hero with an uzi and scenes of wreckage and destruction from the minds of adult screenwriters who miss their Tonka trucks, or you could sing opera with Jackie. Your choice. The key is, keep marching. And 2013 will turn out just the way you thought it would, 365 days later, based on that choice! It will shine like the finest aria if you put your heart into it like a 13 year-old opera singer, or it will go to hell in a handbasket as my father used to say in his declining years, and nothing will be right. Your choice. It's the Spirit of '13 and you lead the parade.
The Spirit of ’13