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Lifting Feet Over Train Tracks

Posted By John Edelen On May 13, 2019 @ 1:37 am In Customs | Comments Disabled

Piece:

“So, basically, the gist of the ‘game’ is that when you’re driving in your car, and you go over train tracks, you have to lift your feet up off of the floor of the car. Otherwise, you would ‘get your feet chopped off’ by the railroad tracks. And then after you do it, you, ask other people in the car if they did the same thing.”

“Where did you learn this?

“I guess I learned it from [my] mom? Uh, I’m not… I couldn’t say exactly. I just remember it being something the family did.”

“Why do you remember this specific thing?”

“I’d say I remember it just ‘cause its one of those things that you do when we’re driving on, like, family road trips or really anywhere with railroad tracks. And it’s like one of those funny, bad jokes that you just tell over and over because they’re so not funny.”

Analysis:

The person being interviewed is actually in my family, so I definitely understand where he is coming from regarding this practice. It kind of calls to mind a memory or feeling of fun family times from childhood that don’t come around as much when you grow up. I have actually met other people who do the same thing, but not that many. Looking the tradition up, it comes from a superstition where you’ll bring yourself good luck if you do it combined with a cultural apprehension regarding railroads or crossroads. Many cultures create and spread practices for what to do to increase luck. This one may be more tied to the Southern United States, because that is where the interviewed source is from, but that is not a guarantee. I couldn’t speculate as to the removal of the luck aspect and the addition of the foot removal.

Context:

The interviewed party is a 22-year-old male who currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island attending Brown University. Although he currently lives in the North East, he spent a majority of his life living in the Southern United States. This includes his birthplace in South Carolina and continues on to North-East Georgia.
This interview was conducted via a skype call and audio was recorded in order to aid in the transcription of the spoken word.


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URL to article: http://folklore.usc.edu/?p=47643