Obsessive Behavior



I have issues.  It’s a long list, as anyone that knows me well enough will tell you.  And on that long list are entries numbered 3, 7, 12 and 21.  Significant both as issues on the list and literally the written numbers themselves.  A self-diagnosis of these particular issues points towards a hybrid virus of Numerology and Arithmomania.  Oh, wait, Wheel of Fortune is on. 

Look at the studio filled with glamorous merchandise. Fabulous and exciting bonus prizes. Thousands of dollars in cash. Over $150,000 just waiting to be won as we present our big bonanza of cash on Wheel Of Fortune.

O.K., I’m back.  Thanks Dustin.

Numerology is any belief in the divine, mystical relationship between a number and one or more coinciding events.     Arithmomania is a mental disorder that may be seen as an expression of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD).  Sufferers often feel it is necessary to perform an action a certain number of times to prevent alleged calamities.  European folklore concerning vampires often depicts them with arithmomania, such as a compulsion to count seeds or grains of rice.  Which sortta explains my odd sleeping patterns and the fact that I can wholeheartedly describe the taste of blood.  But that’s a different issue and a different story.

I blame my cursed affliction on my Mom.  On the first day of every month of my childhood, she prompted my sisters and me to utter the word “Rabbit” as the first word that we would say as we woke in the morning.  In doing so, we were assured good luck throughout the coming month.  Lucky rabbit’s foot…get it?  Yea, it’s a word and not a number, but I think that was the beginning of my condition.

My Mom’s high school basketball number was 21.  The number 3 was always a lucky number around our household.  It just now dawned on me that there were 3 siblings.  My randomly issued high school varsity football jersey number was 7.  (3 X 7 =21)  My randomly issued high school varsity basketball jersey number was 12.  (3 X 4 = 12)  (3 + 4 = 7) (12 written backwards is 21) (1 + 2 or 2 + 1 = 3)  My randomly issued Pony League baseball number was 27.  (2 + 7 = 9)  (3 X 3 = 9) (3 X 9 = 27)  My randomly issued JV football number was 18.  (1 from 8 = 7)  (1 + 8 = 9 or 3 squared)   My birth date written in a two-digit year format (xx/xx/xx) adds up to 12.  My birth date written in a four-digit year format (xx/xx/xxxx) adds up to 22.  But, but, but, that doesn’t fit the numerology.  Oh yea, 22 was my randomly issued JV basketball jersey number.  My one sister’s birthday is the 14th.  (1 from 4 = 3)  April 14th (4 + 14 = 18, JV football jersey number) The other sister’s birthday is simply the 3rd.  September 3rd.  (9 + 3 = 12, varsity b-ball jersey)  (9 X 3 = 27, Pony League baseball jersey).  Randomly issued, I don’t think so.  Mom’s birthday is 12/21.  Enough said.  Dad’s birthday is 04/19.  (4 + 19 = 23, which means nothing, but the 2 + 3 = 5, my birthday)  During my entire senior high school year, my morning alarm clock was set by me to wake  at 7:12, unless my Mom woke me first to say “Rabbit”.

First girlfriend’s birthday.  January 2nd.  (01 +02 = 3)  I was born 3 days later.  In the same hospital.

Years ago, I read that most heart attacks occur at 9:00 A.M.  To this day, I never ‘sit’ in the bathroom at 9:00 A.M. for fear that I’ll end up like Elvis or Jim Morrison.  If I grab some crackers for a snack, I take 3.  If I go for seconds, I take 4 more, so that it adds up to 7.  When brushing my teeth, the rinses and swallows are always in combinations of say like 4 and 3 or 5 and 2 or 6 and 1, but always adding up to the number 7.

I see one and two digit numbers in my mind as characters with different personalities.  Some numbers appear in bold print, as strong stable numbers.  Some are slanted to the left, some to the right, reflecting an introverted or extroverted personality.  Some are flighty, some are smart.  Some seem fast, some seem weak.  In my restaurant management days, especially with the growing use of computers, employees were all given An Employee Number.  To this day, I can instantly recall a number when thinking about an employee from the past.  And the employee and the assigned number, it seems to me, somehow describe each other.  Joanne T. was server number 19.  Fast, on the move, but not particularly out-going.  Lonnie G. was 57.  Bold, brash and outgoing.  Fredericka B. (Fred) was employee number 8, a bit plain and very loopy.

There was one employee, Mary, whose social security number I still have memorized.  I would bet bar flies that I knew ‘every’ employee’s Social Security number. “Hey Mary, come here when you have a second”.  Lunch and dinner shifts began with a fifteen minute pow-wow for wait staff, to teach new skills and go over the daily specials.  Going into “Line-up”, I’d have the S.S. number of any nervous new employee locked in my brain.  “The fresh fish today is Mahi-Mahi, the soup is broccoli-cheddar and…Susan, your S.S. number is XXX-XX-XXXX.  Right?  Special cleaning side-work today is dusting the tiffany lamps.  That sure did confuse the heck out of ‘em.

Before the days of computer based inventory programs, everything was done manually.  As in, a Texas Instrument calculator and a pencil with a fresh eraser.  Working for a large cooperate chain, we were required to perform inventory every week.  Each Sunday night, we counted all food, bar, paper, glassware and chemical items and then extended the inventory equation by hand, deriving both a weekly and month-to-date cost and cost-percentage based on sales.  It should have been enough to push someone like me over the edge of sanity.  I can still recall the sixteen different burger topping combinations from the menu.  “Minnesota Fats Burger”  8 oz. burger, 1 oz. sliced cheddar cheese, 1 oz. mushroom/wine sauce, 1oz. each sautéed mushrooms and onions, dollop of sour cream.  A “South Western chicken” was topped with a sprinkle of diced scallions.  A sprinkle was approximately a tablespoon or 17 individual scallion dices.  And the scary thing was that I actually enjoyed knowing all of these little tidbits.

Back to “any belief in the divine, mystical relationship between a number and one or more coinciding events”.  This past February, I had my ailing left shoulder surgically repaired.  The procedure was scheduled on a Monday.  The Saturday beforehand, I was creeping on Facebook and stumbled upon a picture of a young woman that I knew from the past.  Her name is Samantha, but goes by the cutesy nickname of ‘Sam’.  On Sunday, I ran into my niece and her college buddy, also named ‘Sam’.  On Monday, I’m led to a private room to prep for surgery.  In walks a nurse.  “I’m sorry; I left my nametag at home.  My name is Sam.”  Of course it is.  3 female Sam’s in 3 days.  My surgery was performed in O.R. Room number 3.  My shoulder is feeling so much better.

When I was five years old, my family moved from our well-aged, temporary home to a newly constructed house in a small neighboring town.  As family belongings were being packed up for transport, a small bit of graffiti was noticed on the lowest shelf of a wooden bookcase.  With a red Crayon, I had written two letters.  P.i.  Once our move was complete, a street address was established for our new home, the first house built in a brand new neighborhood.  Our address became 314 Dawn Avenue.  In case you skipped trigonometry and geometry classes in high school, Pi is the common spelling for the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, commonly approximated as 3.14159.  My Mom thought that I was a genius.  Which, of course, didn’t turn out to be the case.  Because even I know that Pi ain’t square, Pi are round.                                                     

One thought on “Numbers”

  1. I am laughing so hard because your baby sister is “almost” as wacky as you, my big brother, about numbers. I’m so glad our house number is 12738 (equals 21) and our zip code adds up to 12!


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