Friday, January 18, 2013

How to be a Humanist

This morning, Boo woke up early. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, she's highly efficient and usually in a good mood. Today was like that, and when I came downstairs, she was making herself mac and cheese for breakfast. When she was done, she put the pot in the sink and went to the dining room to eat.

"Boo," I said, "next time, please put some water in the pot if you don't have time to wash it. Otherwise the cheese gets crusty and it's hard to wash off."

"Oh," she replied, "I'm sorry. I thought that was only for cream of wheat."

"It's okay. I took care of it this time. I just wanted you to know for next time, since you have a long life of cooking ahead of you."

And then the Jewish alarm bells went off in my head. I had committed a kaynahora--I had brought the attention of the Evil Eye by mentioning my daughter's potential long life. In my head, I kept saying, "God willing" and I wanted to spit preemptively to remove the jinx. And then I was arguing with myself.

I've always thought these superstitions a bit silly, but saw no harm in observing them. But since becoming a Humanist about a year ago, I find them even sillier and would like to stop. And sort of feels like playing with my daughter's life. If jinxes aren't real, there's no harm in saying "God willing" or "God forbid." If they are, then it's pretty risky to go around tempting the Evil Eye, isn't it?

Of course, there is absolutely no evidence to support the existence of an Evil Eye OR God. And so the notion that God could protect me from the Evil Eye is utterly ridiculous.

And yet...


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Ok, confused... I commented, then it looked like I had commented twice so I deleted one and it deleted both...

    the comment: heh heh... I initially thought you were afraid you had cursed her to a life of cooking.