Superstition: A Treatise
The time has come for us to unite as an intellectually advanced society and take the necessary actions to eradicate the plague of superstition under which we have suffered for long enough. We must make a determined effort to control our compulsions to knock on lumber and throw seasoning over our shoulders to stave off bad luck. We must strive to recognize broken mirrors as trash and embrace felines of all colors. Only once we have systematically uncovered and broken each and every chain letter will we be on the path to recovery.
As with any other epidemic, we must identify the sources of these cultural viruses through the use of research methods established by our most highly inquisitive minds, and in the words of any 2-year-old ask: "why?" While many would spare the time to avoid walking beneath a ladder or stepping on a crack in the sidewalk, that same luxury is not afforded reflection upon what exactly it was they were accomplishing by such actions.
Why would any reasonable being throw spilled salt over one's shoulder (other than to dispose of the evidence)? What possible benefit could knocking on a piece of wood bring (other than entertaining onlookers when, trapped inside a car, a desperate search for wood only uncovers imitation painted plastic)? Should intelligent life ever grace this planet of ours, it would immediately (and rightly) dismiss us as twits for misnumbering the floors of our buildings out of fear of an integer.
Put into proper historical perspective, one might argue that some of these myths did in fact once serve a purpose. Perhaps at a time when mirrors were expensive and hard to come by, threatening accident-prone servants with a severe seven years of bad luck (per crack!) would ensure they were handled with care. It is also conceivable that one too many town roofers were lost in accidents involving an unobservant pedestrian carrying an unusually wide load. These semi-rational hypotheses however, are few and far between.
Common sense should now dictate the actions of our society. We no longer have a need for these ancient superstitions in our society; we have advanced intellectually far beyond the need to frighten simpletons and klutzes with bad luck. We now know that we are responsible for our own actions, and that we make our own luck. We have evolved to the state where we no longer require threats from chain letters that warn of the loss of limbs, love and life. No right-thinking person in this day and age could seriously believe that a woman in the Midwest burned herself because she didn't pass a chain letter on to 10 friends. Besides, who needs vague, empty threats of bad luck when we can financially reward ourselves for driving with a cup of hot coffee between our legs?