Is This You? Life by the numbers |

Is This You? Life by the numbers

Trina Machacek

I must admit I’m a romantic. I like to float along believing 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 nine 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 No. 1 and No. 2 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’m 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’re relaxing in your living room. What’s the channel number of your favorite television show? And what time does it come on? Numbers again.

Weird but true is 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 I can still recall today, some 40 years later. Who thought 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 the guys in the service will never forget. Name, rank and serial number. Even those great guys from World War II 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 can’t do Sudoku. I’ve tried and I like numbers and puzzles. But put these two things together and my brain smokes. I keep thinking there’s some secret to these frustrating boxed exasperating little buggers. I know I’m 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 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 burned 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 out 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 around a hundred times. Ah, another number …

Trina Machacek lives in Eureka, Nevada. Share with her at Really!