The “Good”, the “Bad”, and the Downright “Weird”!

"Bad" number!

“Bad” number!

I don’t care who you are — you have a quirk, an idiosyncrasy — you do something weird. I have more than one. Some are probably common — at least that’s what I tell myself — others are, I’m sure, more, let’s just call them — unique — and leave it at that.

I won’t address my deep-seated phobias or fears, to do so I’d need to go book-length AND advertise for readers who possess large amounts of spare time — shut-ins spring to mind. I’ll just concentrate on one of my more bizarre and, up to now, well-hidden habits.

Lots of folks count their steps. It should go without saying that I do that, too. I don’t consider this behavior to be particularly out of the ordinary. I do this other thing with numbers, though, that could be described as slightly strange. I’ll try to explain it as best I can.

I call it “simplifying”. It involves bringing strings of numbers down to one number. For example, the number 747 would be a 9 — here’s why: 7+4+7 = 18; 1+8 = 9. See? Simple, right? And, one would think, fairly innocuous.

Most of the time it is. Innocuous. Except when it’s not — like when I use the “even” or the “odd” properties of the simplified number to ascribe “goodness” or “badness” to a thing. “Evenness” is “good”; “Oddness” is bad. In the above example, the number 747 is “bad” — because it simplifies to the number 9, which, as any first-grader knows, is odd. And odd is bad. I don’t know why, it just is. Everybody knows this.

The problem arises in how and when I choose to apply this technique. Far too often I rely upon it to make decisions, like when I have to choose between two dentists or when I’m selecting a lottery number. I tell myself that one dentist is just as good as another dentist. And tons of lottery players have a “system”! There’s nothing wrong with having a system.

There have been other instances, though, when I have actually gone out of my way to insure an even number. My original wedding date simplified to a 5, which troubled me. So, I changed the date. (My husband still thinks I did so because The Mets were having a good year and we wouldn’t have wanted to be out of the country if they had gotten into The World Series — only I know the real reason!)

"Good" number!

“Good” number!

Really, he’s lucky that I married him at all! His birth date simplifies to a 7. Actually, ALL of our birth dates wind up odd — there’s nothing that can be done about it. I couldn’t very well refuse to take my daughter home from the hospital because, through no fault of her own, she wound up a 9. That would’ve been crazy, right? I do, however, take some small comfort in knowing that my birth date is the only one that can be brought to evenness by incorporating my birth year. Obviously, this makes me better than them. And I am. Ask anyone who knows us.

Of course I worry that one day my system will fail me — that I’ll trust that the truck with the even license plate won’t be the one to mow me down. Until I’m splattered all over the road by that number 4, I’ll just go ahead and continue to simplify. Because it calms me. I know! I know! It’s weird.

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30 thoughts on “The “Good”, the “Bad”, and the Downright “Weird”!

  1. Ned's Blog says:

    I never thought about this before. Now I can’t STOP thinking about it.
    … curse you…


  2. One of my most prevalent [though certainly not the quirkiest] tendencies is to set my alarm at even increments, but never ending in a zero. 5:48, 6:12, etc. Why? Who knows!?


  3. ohlidia says:

    I have a hard time making decisions and this would be a great help! My husband might think it weird if I used this method, but not me!


  4. My first reaction to this was….”would I be able to do that in my head quick enough to make a decision about a matter?” That answer was no which left me feeling a little bummed because it really does seem like a good system! I have many a weird quirk. Actually my doctor has described it as OCD tendencies…a few of them involve hangers, twist ties and silverware….I’ll just leave your imagination wandering now!


    • javaj240 says:

      Your first mistake was, of course, sharing this information with a medical professional. Your second, not sharing it with us, your faithful readers. It doesn’t take much to get my imagination wandering —- hmmm…. hangers —- my guess would be that they must always be facing the same way; silverware — many ordering systems could be at play here; twist ties —- I’m stumped. I truly am. Mainly because I’ve not encountered a twist tie in some time — they no longer come on the bread in these parts and I buy the self-tying garbage bags.


  5. Ginger Kay says:

    I am oddly impressed. I am miserable with numbers. I tend to get strings of them out of order and/or have a hard time remembering them. In high school I gave up using a locker because I forgot the combination so often. I just couldn’t trust myself to remember it and be able to retrieve my books. It’s been downhill from there.


  6. I play with numbers in my mind too. It happens to be that 18 is a good number in Hebrew -(symbolizes life). I always program my microwave in multiples of 18.. That is just the beginning of my numbers thing.


  7. peachyteachy says:

    Isn’t this a principle of numerology? You could hang out a blog shingle and charge some bucks for your numerology readings. Your readings could all end similarly, to keep the customers happy: the numbers say that you are better than them.


    • javaj240 says:

      Oddly enough I know nothing about numerology, LOL! I do like the way you think, though. Making money from my madness? Brilliant!


  8. Vanessa says:

    You must be an absolute whiz when it comes to adding up sums! This would take me eons to figure out…

    You know what’s kind of cool with numbers? Marc’s birthday is May 20, 1983. Mine is Feb 3, 1985. So – 05201983 and 03021985. We have all the same numbers in our birthdays! Alas, it looks like we are both odds…no surprise there!


    • javaj240 says:

      That is cool! And, Bonus!, I got to use the distributive property! I am a “sums whiz” — my best friend calls me an idiot savant. That’s where it ends, though. Higher math completely eludes and baffles me.


  9. rossmurray1 says:

    Do you do this for your post word counts? Could mean the difference between getting Freshly Pressed!


    • javaj240 says:

      Thus far I have never let it affect my writing — of course now I will have to go back and look at the word counts of my Freshly Pressed posts. Thanks, Ross!


  10. Frankly, I only like and trust people that are a little weird.


  11. Ellen Dolgen says:

    I don’t think it’s really as weird as you think! I think many of us devise ways to help us see order or rationale in life – whether it be numbers or something else. Don’t stress, girl – it got you this far, right!?


  12. mindy trotta says:

    Oy, all my family is odd…but then I already knew that!


  13. Using this system I’m really screwed. I guess I need to move in with my neighbor.


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