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The ‘Friday the 13th’ incident

The Picarella Family Report

Posted: June 13, 2008 2:44 a.m.
Updated: August 14, 2008 5:02 a.m.
My wife and 4-year-old son think I'm crazy.

Today is Friday the 13th, a day that rains bad luck on some people, and I don't want to discover that the air conditioner in my house broke again. I don't want to "accidentally" turn up dead. Even worse, I don't want to find out that TCM is canceling its cable programming. Therefore, on this Friday the 13th, I'm staying clear of bad news and bad luck. I'll be tucked away in the back of my bedroom closet with the door locked.

OK, so I'm a little superstitious. But I have reason to be superstitious.

It all started when I was about 8 years old. My best friend and I had learned about the "Friday the 13th" films where Jason Voorhees, the supernatural slayer who wears a white hockey mask, kills people with his machete. The older kids of the neighborhood told my friend and me that little kids like us couldn't see the movies because we'd be too scared, which basically meant that we had to get a hold of these movies somehow and watch them.

So my friend and I went to the local video store and tried to rent all four films (a collection that's since grown). The man behind the counter wouldn't rent the Rated R videos to us. So we did what any responsible youths would do. We lied. I led the fibbing with a story about how my parents asked me to come down and rent the movies for their personal viewing. I felt terrible lying, but I was really good at it.

Evidently, I wasn't good enough because the plan didn't work. Maybe that was a sign telling us to give up before we got into trouble. But we didn't give up, and we spent the rest of the day visiting all the video stores in town in search of a video store clerk who would rent us the Rated R films.

Just when we were about to give up because it was getting late and the monsters would soon come out to eat us, we found someone who would rent us the movies. We were short 1 cent at the register, which was another sign telling us not to rent the videos. But then the guy threw in the penny, and we were home free.

I called my parents and asked if I could spend the night at my friend's house. They gave me permission. And then my friend and I started up the "Friday the 13th" marathon (without parental knowledge).

The films were brutal, scary, horrific-they were great! We loved the movies so much that we had to have more. So the next day, we went back to our Rated R video connection and rented "Nightmare On Elm Street," the "Halloween" movies and "The Texas Chain Saw Massacre." As we smuggled the Rated R videos back to our fort, my best friend and I marveled at how we were able to rent Rated R videos without getting caught.

And then we got caught. We'd pushed our luck. My parents happened to be driving by and found my friend and me with the stash of Rated R movies. My parents busted me good. They took the movies back to the video store, and then told the clerk that I couldn't rent movies there "ever again," not even "Sesame Street." And I couldn't spend the night in the fort anymore either.

I later came to realize why I got busted. The way I figured it, my friend and I were instantly doomed when we rented Rated R movies (a negative). But because we rented "Friday the 13th" (a second negative), we ended up with two negatives, and two negatives make a positive, so we could've walked away clean. But then we rented other Rated R movies (a negative). We had no other negative to make a positive, so we were left with a negative. And that's when and why we got busted.

OK, so maybe my wife and 4-year-old son have good reason to think I'm going crazy. Nevertheless, you can bet that today, Friday the 13th (a negative), I'll still be tucked away in the back of my closet where no bad luck can attack me. I'll be sitting under a ladder (a second negative) in front of the TV, watching the "Friday the 13th" movies (a third negative). Three negatives make a super positive. I hope it's enough to make it to midnight.

Michael Picarella is a Valencia resident and a proud husband and father. His column reflects his own opinions, not necessarily those of The Signal.


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