CommunityNewsPeopleRon Baker

Numbers That Count

By Ron Baker

It’s not the first time I’ve asked the question. I regularly ask teens what is their favourite subject in school. Whenever someone mentions MATH, I get excited. My math memories of high school are good.

So I pursue their exact desires to follow the math trail. Often it is just the matter that they get better marks than others. Some veer off into secondary subjects like physics or algebra.

And then, as most recently at a church gathering, I meet the numbers person.

I asked if they just like to count numbers for the fun of it. It’s like we have an unconscious “number” clock that happens inside us. I asked if they count the number of stairs they climb coming out of the basement. We all know it’s between 10 – 13. Do you need an alarm clock? NO! My brain just wakes me up.

Over the years I’ve spent time thinking about numbers.

I remember songs like – “One is the loneliest number”. Or sayings that one is the perfect number.

Of course, zero is a real conundrum! I mean, is there really “zero” if zero is nothing.

In perfecting my craft of writing the number three sticks out. Most people like groupings of thoughts in threes. That just seems to be the number of things you can keep in mind without working too hard. Any more in a list becomes laughable (watch a comedian list off absurd things and you think he will never stop because it goes on and on).

What about ten? We live in a world of tens. When you learned to count in English you started a new set of numbers every ten numbers. We have the word “decade” because every ten years is a new thing. For years the “top ten” was the way to decide on what was best.

And seven?? How many days in the week? When you get to that seven you are at your “end”. That’s when there is a “Shabot” (Sabbath) to rest so you can get back to the next seven.

Two? This is the number that makes sure one is not the lonely number. You sing a duet so you can add a bit of harmony to the song.

Eight stretched sideways becomes the sign for “infinity”. Eight never ends. If you are afraid of life stopping or being chopped into little pieces, keep eight in mind. You life does fit together.

And nine?? Put three threes together and you slide into nine. All the good of threes is perfected in nine.

Six and four? Put them together and they add up to ten. By themselves they surround the newest number that is trending in writing circles.

FIVE! For years writers wrote self-help books never seeming to use the number five in their list of “how-to’s”. Academics loved three points to an argument. If you needed to prove something you wrote about the top ten.

But, . . . current titles are featuring “five”. A little challenge for this coming while. Start counting how many times five shows up in book and article titles and in everyday writing (you can even use the grocery flyer to see “five for $10”).

Five is trending!!

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