Point at the Stars and get a Wart


SS: “The first one is one I always got told while growing up. While you’re stargazing at night, if you point at the moon, if you point at the stars, if you point at anything beautiful in the sky, then you’re going to wake up with some sort of wart… on your face, on your finger, somewhere like that. So growing up, I always used my fist if I wanted to point out a star. And it worked for me! That is, until one night. My family was hanging out in the jacuzzi, chatting, having a great night, and then we talked about this beautiful star in the sky, the brightest star in the sky. I said it’s so nice, and my family said they didn’t know which one I was talking about, so obviously the go-to is to assist them. So I get my big old finger and point straight at this bright, beautiful star, and right after I look at my finger and my family and said “NO!” After that, I was like oh no, something’s going to happen, this will really suck, maybe I’ll find out if this is the real deal or not. I was so worried… the rest of the night, I made sure to use my fist so I wouldn’t get like, double the trouble or something. The next day I wake up and go to the mirror, and I’ve got a fat pimple on my nose. I was so annoyed! I was like this is real, I screwed it up, I should have pointed with my fist… that’s why I believe that superstition to be true. Moral of the story: don’t point at the stars.”

CONTEXT: SS is my roommate and close friend, a recent graduate of USC who was born in Brazil but moved to the United States soon after. She frequently flies back with her parents and brother to visit her family in Brazil.

SS: “All the Brazilian superstitions I have I learned from my family. I have multiple.”

ANALYSIS: SS described the practice as a superstition when she described it: she was self-conscious of its magical nature. The belief itself is an example of a jinx. She didn’t have to physically contact the star, so contagious magic appears to be out. On the topic of SS’s experience with the superstition, Her story about it becomes a memorate because of the way that she inserted herself into the narrative. Her experience with the superstition is built into the way that she describes it. Her testing of the superstition is significant because it was a one-time event: she followed the superstition at all other times in her life, making the one time where she didn’t dramatic in comparison. Her test could have been an outlier, but because her test confirmed her belief, she’s not going to try again. She built her own debate into the way she told the story, making sure to mention the fact that she herself was doubting it, but she makes it clear that in the end, her belief was confirmed, almost as though she was trying to convince her audience.