Thursday, January 21, 2016


Hit a milestone in the car the other day:

Yes, indeedy---fifty-five thousand five hundred and fifty-five miles. On the second set of tires, but the first transmission.

I wondered if I was supposed to run out and play 55555 on some game of chance. Was 5 my lucky number? Could it be my lucky number until it hit 55556? Was there a lotto retailer within a mile? Maybe I should get out and walk!

The fact is, I don't know how the daily number games work, and I don't know how lucky numbers are supposed to work. Like all kids I had a number I considered lucky; like all kids, it was my birthday. (Yes, children, my lucky number was A.D. 1369.) But my birth date has most certainly never been especially lucky for me. But what other criterion can I use for a lucky number? Should I use YOUR birthday? But you're already using it.

I remember one time when I was a kid I slipped out of the house with one quarter in my pocket. A church down the street was having a carnival, and we were not going, so I ran away from home. (Two blocks, but still.) When I got there I saw one of those carnival wheel guys. I put my quarter on number 4, which is not my birthday. I don't know why I chose 4. Maybe someone had taken my usual number. Anyway, my one and only quarter was on the winning number, and I came home with a cheap kite.

I probably crashed that kite within seconds of trying to fly it, but I never forgot that I won it with my only quarter, and I won it on number 4. (I have forgotten how I explained to my parents that I suddenly had a kite; we were not kite people, really.)

The thing is, number 4 hasn't showered me with good fortune, either.

I've wondered over the years whether my lucky number is a negative number, or even an imaginary number. ("I'll take the square root of negative one, and LET IT RIDE!") There was a piece in the Washington Post the other day (HT: Dave Barry) that says the longest prime number so far has been discovered, and it's 22 million digits long; maybe that's my lucky number.

Oh, the hell with it.

I guess I've given up on lucky numbers. I just never found one that seemed to have any consistent oomph for me. So farewell, birthday; farewell, 4; so long, 55555.

In fact, I am going to give up superstition altogether. Knock on wood.

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