Illustration by Marissa Espiritu/22 West

Little Superstitions

The things that don’t make sense are the things that don’t change

By Jason Turk, Staff Writer

Illustration by Marissa Espiritu, Contributor

In elementary school, I had problems conversing naturally with others. I thought of myself as “awfully awkward,” and accepted it for the meantime. Until, a blue Superman cup filled with milk changed me.

One morning, as I watched “Family Matters” before heading out to school, a strange episode with the sitcom’s lovable nerd Steve Urkel aired. He drank a self-made concoction called “cool juice.” Urkel instantly becomes a swaggering and charismatic character by the name of Stefan Urquelle.

Now, I didn’t have any “cool juice” of my own, but I did have low-fat milk in my blue Superman cup that morning and drank it. Immediately, Urkel came into mind, and I imagined it being “cool juice” as I strode into my third-grade class with the same confidence of Stefan Urquelle.

That day of school was a pleasantly uncommon one. I felt cool, confident and charismatic.

For the remainder of the day, I didn’t go through any awkward silences during conversations, and I attributed this all to my “cool juice.”

So, every morning from then on, I’d drink milk from my blue Superman cup while watching “Family Matters.” And every day at school, I thought the days I’d have were better than the days before my “cool juice.”

I imagined it being “cool juice” as I strode into my third-grade class with the same confidence of Stefan Urquelle.

I kept this superstition up until middle school, when I finally lost my blue Superman cup in an impromptu garage sale and as a result, middle school became something of a crisis for me. I felt I was losing confidence, becoming less cool with each passing day.

As I matured, I saw my superstition being based on nothing other than a placebo effect. I was telling myself the Superman milk would make me cool, and therefore envision each day I had as a “cool” one. In all honesty, growing out of this was a mark of personal growth and personal pride.

Only, it wasn’t.

I currently hold a lot of strange superstitions, many of which I’m not even aware of at all. These superstitions are keeping my blinds open at night, setting a single Ricola to the right of my fish tank when I wake up and putting my bottles of honey inside a box made for pop-tarts.

If you asked me why I do these things, I wouldn’t have much of an answer for you. All I know is the one time I slept with a cough drop next to my fish’s bowl, I woke up with an unexpected enthusiasm for the day. In short, that’s all the explanation I needed in order to carry on with my cough drop habit.

Although I’ve grown so much since third grade, my baseless superstitions still exist to provide me comfort, as all superstitions do. Sure, believing milk from a Superman cup can boost your confidence is uncommon, but it’s not the worst thing in the world if you ask me.