|Album cover for "Endtroducing" by DJ Shadow which included track #3 - "The Number Song"|
I've spent the last two or three weeks with all sorts of numbers running through my head. For this post initially I wanted to just showcase a few of my favourite numbers and why they were important in my life. Instead I found a very small but effective link to a question you are all welcome to ask yourselves.
How much of our lives are not only influenced by but maybe even completely controlled by numbers? In simple terms you need look no further than the biggest of all numerical factors; money. No matter the currency, you cannot escape it and you sure as hell cannot live without it. Everything you do is controlled by money, how much you have and how much you don't have. How much you earn and how much you owe.
You want something? How much does it cost. You provide a service? You want to be paid. You may have your own view on the entire situation but it all boils down to numbers. Banks. Computers. Spread sheets. Calculators. There it is.
|thank you to @cally_jo_art on Instagram for this image|
Some people are superstitious when it comes to numbers. Mens Health put this list together of well known athletes and their superstitions so that I don't have to - "10 most superstitious athletes"
I find it odd that they chose ten and not the most common number related to superstition, of course being thirteen. Ranker.com gives us this list of "Thirteen Common Superstitions" which should satisfy, in case you had a problem. Thumbs up for mentioning that the Mayans even disliked the number to the extent that they counted eras to twelve, hence the end of their calendar being 2012.
Lucky numbers are also are well known, particularly the number seven in the Western World. The Chinese have a complete belief system based around numbers which you can read up on here - "Numbers in Chinese culture"
Numbers are found in our favourite movies and songs. I've had a quick browse through my iTunes and there are countless examples not only of numbers, but even the word number. De La Soul told us that three is the Magic Number. I certainly agree with this being the third R.G. Boswell in the family, and being the eldest of three brothers. That's magic to me. And if you've seen the movie Se7en it surely belongs here too. But for me it's gonna take something extraordinary to beat the Sesame Street Pinball Number Countdown sung by the Pointer Sisters.
Our address, phone number(s), date of birth, NI number, bank account, credit card, car registration plate, IP address, even shoe size. I wonder if all of this was necessary for the reasons we use these numbers today, back when numbers were invented. Does that make any sense?
What I mean is, who came up with the idea of numbers, and for what reason? But more than that, when did it become acceptable to us that we have all of these examples and many many more to identify, categorise and control us? Was it a need at some point to assist with rule, fairness and to avoid some sort of chaotic event? Does it work so well that we continue to use the methods and there is no turning back? In cultures that observe things in a different way to ours, are they just going crazy without order and numeracy? Can we even compare say Happiness and if so what type of scale do we use?
Ok before your eyes glaze over, and you start thinking about having more left overs or finishing that festive booze, I will get into the original concept for this post.
My cyber life has always used the number 75, the year I was born. There seem to be a lot of people using the username Bossman. Lots of email addresses, handles and websites. Have I ever explained why I use Bossman? Hmmm answers on a postcard...
The number 3 (particularly in Roman numerals due to my name) also means a great deal to me. The number 30 was special, being the year I really began to understand what life was about. Marriage, Fatherhood and something more than just survival. My shoe size has been a US 9 (or UK 8 for that matter) for as long as I can remember it being relevant.
I'm actually fairly bad at remembering things like birth dates of family and friends. Phone numbers again I'm not so good at. When I played football, my most commonly used number was 1 seeing as I started as a goalkeeper. When I played in other positions the number I wore really didn't matter to me.
Other peoples' numbers have been fascinating and burned deep into my memory however, and I'm sure you have your own too. Here's a list of my five favourite numbers, simply because of who they relate to.
#23 - No number stands out more in sports to me than this and it's all down to the great Michael Jordan. Anyone wearing that shirt now is paying homage to him, correct me if I'm wrong. I like to think this of Clint Dempsey and Andre Arshavin. I think this is probably mostly true for David Beckham, but I don't know for sure.
#22 - I love the NFL and American Football. And I love the Cowboys, even though they mostly let me down and crush my dreams of a fifth Superbowl win in my lifetime. I loved many players but for me Emmitt Smith just edged out the characters and greats like Roger Staubach., Danny White, Troy Aikman, Ed 'Too Tall' Jones, Tony Dorsett, Michael Irvin and who can forget Deion Sanders? I found an interesting list here on Cowboys Gab of the top fifty players of all time - "Top 50 Dallas Cowboys Players Of All-time" Recently the Cowboys have mourned the loss of Jerry Brown who died in a fatal crash and are showing their respect by having his jersey on the sidelines. #53
#14 - As an Arsenal fan I can't find a more important squad number than that worn by our greatest goalscorer Thierry Henry...
#10 - Apart from that worn by Dennis Bergkamp of course. Arguably the greatest player for the Gunners at least since I've been a fan.
#800 - the plate number my son uses for BMX. When it came to choosing a number, we let him decide and this is what he wanted. I hope that the number sticks with him into adulthood so he can tell a similar story.
I decided to keep the list short because to be honest it could have gone on forever. I've forced myself to leave out the likes of Dirk Nowitzki #41 and that was not an easy thing to do. (← see what I've done?)
So there are some of the numbers special to me personally and in the world of sport. I've also demonstrated the very popular use of 'lists'. No website uses lists more than Complex. To be honest the majority of topics do not interest me. I feel they aren't really looking to provide substance when compiling their lists. Having said that, they have looked to some very influential people and what they've touched upon has been more relevant in the circles I associate myself with.
To end it seemed appropriate to comment on the use of numbers in death, specifically dates in memorials. Be these on headstones, eulogies and even tattoos. I have lost three of the most caring and strong people in my family and sadly have not visited their graves or resting spots. I have however marked their dates on my skin for a constant reminder of their importance and good deeds they performed on this Earth.
Lots of people used the end of the Mayan calendar as a possible End of the World scenario in 2012. See above for more likely explanation. I think it was just an excuse to take a day off work and get pissed. There have been a large number of dates where religions, scholars and nut-jobs have predicted the end, and been wrong. Read for yourself here - "List of dates predicted for apocalyptic events"
I choose to look at numbers predominantly as a great way to reminisce and remember those we love and respect, past and present. And that brings me to the certain end of this post. I thank you for taking the time to read and digest this topic, as you digest possibly your third helping of leftovers for the day. Expect more numbers, more lists and many more memories coming in 2013. Peace.