Iím trying to write this column on Friday the 13th. Iím a little apprehensive about how it might turn out. Actually, I have been what we always called ďa little under the weatherĒ which, so far, I have been unable to self-diagnose.

I am always reading about the big shots in Washington making an ďunannouncedĒ trip to Baghdad. I wonder if they ever tried to make an unannounced trip to their doctor. I have and it wonít work.

Most people consider Friday the 13thĒ an unlucky day. I guess it mostly depends on where they happen to be and the circumstances of their being there. On Friday, Sept. 13, 1944, I was on a bombing mission on a B-17 bomber, somewhere over Germany. I watched from my ball turret as four of our bombers blew up. Mine didnít.

I have been told that I was lucky. But ó it might not have been my luck that got us through it. There were nine other boys on that plane. Maybe we were all lucky. I have been told that our guardian angels and the automatic pilot had already bailed out.

On the plus side, I just received a notification that I have won either a Mercedes or a Porsche, along with a bunch of other stuff. All of this good stuff was foisted on me without signing a thing. I have no idea where they got my name. They probably ďGoggledĒ me. These days, everybody gets ďGoggled.Ē

I probably wonít contact them as I have a perfectly good 1993 Ford F-150 pickup with about four gallons of gas in it. In case nobody noticed, the price of gas recently took a jump in price. The rich folks donít need it and the poor folks have to have it. Itís sorta like ice was when I was growing up. The rich folks had it in the summer and the poor folks had it in the winter.

Besides not particularly needing a Mercedes or a Porsche, the tax appraiser most likely would drive by my house and see either one of these cars and double my taxes.

Actually, I hardly think the date or the day of the week has anything to do with misfortune. It is entirely possible to have a flat tire in the rain on any day of the week. However, to be on the safe side, I think Iíll stay at home all day and save my four gallons of gas.

The reason Iím stuck with four gallons of gas instead of a full tank is due to my belief that the price of gas was going down. It always has, at least briefly. I was wrong this time. It appears that sooner or later Iíll have to make an unannounced trip to a service station. I know that if they find out Iím coming; the price will take another jump.

I guess there are people all over the globe who get a little jumpy on Friday the 13th. It is not just a local thing as everybody has it. No way to get around it.

If I worked in a dynamite factory, Iíd call in sick. If I had a serious operation scheduled, Iíd call it off. There is no way I would even consider getting on a space shuttle or taking any medication without first checking the side-effects.

I donít really consider myself to be superstitious but there are certain things I avoid. I refuse to walk under a ladder and if I accidentally turn a salt shaker over, it is imperative that I throw a handful of salt over my left shoulder immediately.

If a black cat runs across the road in front of me, I immediately stop, turn around and go another way. If necessary, I will drive as far as Proctor to escape the consequences of what that kitty might cause.

There is absolutely no reason to take unnecessary chances on something we can prevent.

I rest my case.

Harry Marlinís column is featured every Tuesday on the Brownwood Bulletinís Viewpoint page. E-mail him at pilgrimB17@verizon.net.