It happens every time I pull up behind a car at a stoplight. The sad truth is that I’m incapable of not adding up the numbers on license plates of cars in front of me. If the total is 19, and the letters happen to match the initials of a family member or friend, I feel as if all the apples or pears have lined up on some cosmic slot machine.
But what, you might ask, have I won in this obsessive-compulsive little game?
Well, today, November 19, is my birthday, and a Tuesday, the day of the week on which I was born. Any plate with that sum of numbers, and even an approximation of my initials, KCM (KVM will do in a pinch), will be counted as an indication that the harmony of the spheres is encompassing me — unless I forget to apply the brakes as I commence calculations.
The best sign ever of cosmic harmony was the RFD number of Madewood when Mother bought the house in 1964 (after visiting Napoleonville in 1963, which adds up to 19): Box 478, which, when added together yields the magic number. Of course, I was disappointed that the telephone number, a simple 7151 back in those days, added up to a miserable 14. Exchanges and area codes that were added later didn’t make things any better.
And when the new sequential numeration of rural addresses came into effect, 4250 Highway 308 didn’t live up to expectations. But if I added 4+2+5+3+8, I came up with 22, a doubling of my mother’s lucky number, 2. Saved again by the internal calculator.
The biggest problem I have with numbers these days is the amount of time I spend scrolling down to 1946 when I have to enter my year of birth for credit cards or to answer security questions. It’s a long way; but when I arrive, I spy 1945, the year Millie was born, with numbers totaling the mystical 19.
But there are folks far worse than I.
Last Tuesday morning, Millie’s friend Faith, who lives in Rhode Island, called precisely at 9:10 on 11/12/13, advised her of this exceptional numerical concordance and hung up. I had missed this “wish I’d been playing the slots at Harrah’s right now” moment by just two minutes, delivering Millie’s morning coffee at 9:12.
It’s already in my calendar to take Millie breakfast in bed at 10:11 on 12/13/14, the morning of Madewood’s 2014 Christmas Heritage Banquet.
At another extreme, I’ve never understood the concept of a Golden Birthday, when your age matches the day of your birth, perhaps because when I turned 19 on November 19, 1965 – enjoying an informal dinner concert by Yale singing group “The Whiffenpoofs” at legendary Mory’s — I had never heard of such nonsense. The remoulade sauce on the storied dining club’s “Shrimp Arnaud,” served piping hot to combat the chill of a New Haven winter, had captured my attention, as had the liberal libations.
To compensate for my lack of numerological savvy 48 years ago, I’m going to make today the first ever Fool’s Gold Birthday. If I multiply the number of days in the shortest month (28) times two and subtract the total from my age today (67), I’m left with 11, a very lucky number.