Life by the Numbers
I must admit I am a romantic. I like to float along believing that love makes the world go ‘round. Making you feel all warm and fuzzy and like nothing could ever put ripples in your pond if love is in your sights. Ah!
But if the world goes around by love it also slogs along by numbers. Here are just a few examples.
Although I believe life starts way before that first swat on a baby’s rump and a wonderfully life affirming cry, after a warm 9 months in the womb life’s numbers are thrown at us during our first look at florescent lights in the form of 8 pounds 13 ounces and 17 inches long. Perfect. Later important numbers may include baby’s first step or doing number one and number two in the potty…
Numbers it seems can rule your life and check out your memory too. Can you recite you social security number? In the course of a day you might need—your address from house or street number down to the zip code, your phone number, land and cell. Your age and weight both numbers said in a whisper I am sure. Traveling? Checking into a motel you might need your car license plate number. Get caught going a bit fast to your destination? Pull out your driver’s license for that number oh and your insurance card with the policy number and expiration date which is hopefully in the future not in the past!
Numbers surround you when you are relaxing in your living room. What is the channel number of your favorite television show? And what time does it come on? Numbers again.
Weird but true is that I can still remember our house number from when I was a kid and even our phone number. Speaking of phone numbers, one of my first adult jobs was as a telephone operator and within that job in our small office we also did directory assistance. Over time we got some numbers memorized and those dozen or so are numbers that I can still recall today, some 40 years later. Who thought that those numbers would still be stuck in my head? I might not remember to put the clothes from the washer into the dryer but I can still remember the number to the Hotel Nevada and the bowling alley in Ely, Nevada.
There are numbers that the guys in the service will never forget. Name, rank and serial number. Even those great guys from WWII can drill off their serial number with lightning speed. Amazing. How many guys in a battalion? A unit? How many days to discharge? Life by the numbers.
But here’s the thing. I cannot do Sudoku. I have tried and I like numbers and puzzles. But put these two things together and my brain smokes. I keep thinking that there is some secret to these frustrating boxed exasperating little buggers. I know I am not a crossword person. If the clues are past asking the day of the week after Monday forget it. But I thought when I saw my first Sudoku puzzle that this was just the best idea. Did I mention I really like numbers? So I grabbed a pen—so sure of myself—and set down to zip this cute little puzzle out. Aargh. I had numbers written all over that newspaper page trying to get up and down and each box to have the numbers one through nine without doubling up on any numbers. I scratched and marked and wore holes in the paper. Yes then I gave up and burnt that crazy thing in our wood stove! I often see whole books of these puzzles and think they can’t be that hard and I almost—almost buy one to try. Then I hear my inner self laughing and I just keep walking. Numbers it seems are sometimes not our friends.
These number ideas are just the tip of the iceberg of how numbers surround us. How about bank account numbers, speed limit numbers, how many days until Christmas—uh next year! Don’t drive yourself nuts-o but I bet sometime soon you will be somewhere quiet and there you will be thinking of other way numbers surround you. It’s like that song “It’s a Small, Small World,” you just can’t get it out of your head until you have sung it about a hundred times. Ah another number…
Trina Machacek lives in Eureka, Nevada. Share with her at firstname.lastname@example.org