Looming disaster and peril get all the love on Friday the 13th, but there is a ton of justice, good fortune, and joy in the archives. It was Friday the 13th when Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins recorded “Friday the 13th” in 1953, a classic of collective resilience. Their day had an eerie start: Rollins was delayed by a car accident, and trumpeter Ray Copeland fell sick, so Julius Watkins filled in, but they measured the moment by their resolve and firepower. The 10-minute jam was written on the spot in the studio, and Rollins tells me it’s one of his most fulfilling collaborations. Full track here; Monk’s solo here.
It was Friday the 13th when Evelyn Brier became the first woman to receive an airplane instructor’s license. And Friday the 13th when President Lyndon Johnson signed an executive order banning gender discrimination in federal employment, which, for all the rightful criticism of its record of enforcement and political support, signaled a milestone. But you’re not convinced. You freak about the 13th. You say you’re not superstitious while watching your step. Here’s more:
It was Friday the 13th when Super Mario Bros. entered the world, in 1985, and another Friday the 13th when Steve Buscemi entered the world, in 1957. What scare has Buscemi given you other than Fargo and Reservoir Dogs? Steve is fine. He was a New York City firefighter in the ’80s. The day after 9/11, he volunteered with his old firehouse to work 12-hour shifts digging through rubble in search of missing firefighters and other potential survivors. “Very few photographs and no interviews exist because he declined them. He wasn’t there for the publicity,” a firefighter community wrote in solidarity. Ten years later, he joined protests against firehouse closures under Mayor Bloomberg. The actor has spoken at union rallies in support of labor rights while serving on the Friends of Firefighters advisory board.
The first dinosaur eggs were discovered on Friday the 13th. Guess which day it was when NASA announced water on the moon. Guess the date of this year’s World Kindness Day. Correct. Share a word about kindness shown to you or by you at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if today turns to crap, see you on Saturday the 14th.