Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Fascination with Numbers

January 16, 2007

We like numbers. We need numbers. We do not feel complete unless our goals (I wanna run a 3 hour marathon), possessions (31 pairs of shoes, 68 hats, 12 types of outdoor gear, and 23 pairs of pants), children (the fewer the better), programs (as in 12 step), and aspirations (I aspire to be among the top 13) can be shown to or heard by someone in an integral fashion. Why is that? I have 7 theories. If you want them, read on. If not, go find 7 other useless ways to eat up the extra time you have.

1- Is it because counting was the first evolutionary step towards the beings we are today? (We all know the second evolutionary step was the ipod which in my case holds 30 gig of stuff and Vera gave me a hat with speakers so I can wear it all day and smile at the kids when I cannot hear them fight thanks to Finger 11, 5 for Fighting, MC 900 Ft, and Led Zepellin’s 1 thru 4). I have an Anthropology Friend (she’s 29 and in her 3rd year of grad school) who might be able let me know if that is true or not.
2- Another theory might be that it is the first real skill we learn. “How old are you little Johnny?” to which little Johnny would hold up his middle finger to show he is 1.
3- The spouse says, “It provides order to the universe” - whatever the hell that means.
4- If numbers weren’t created to describe things, there’d be no way to prove you are better than everybody else. “I can wipe with only 1 square” –or- “I can make a sculpture out of 432 paper clips.”
5- Woman created the number to create a time continuum that would punish their partners for being late. No numbers, no clock. No clock, no time. No time, no late. But then there would be no inches either, would there – see theory 4.
6- It’s almost as if a number validates us. We need some way to quantify our existence and placing a number on items, either tangible or non-tangible, makes us complete. (Someone needs to tell Tom Cruise that it’s numbers, not him, that complete us.)
7- My final theory comes from the International Magazine Consortium or IMC. This group collaborated long ago. They brought with them many slabs of rock and sharp stone like writing utensils and proceeded to perform market research on their fellow hunched and hairy subjects. The IMC concluded, without any doubt, that 1.2 billion magazines can be sold by putting numbers on them. Hah! All of this even before paper was born. Isn’t marketing fantastic?

And so here are the headings I’ll be putting on RabidRunner monthly. (Not all at the same time of course).

17 reasons Herpes will work for you.
121 things you should keep in your purse.
14.5 questions you should ask your children in hopes that they'll hear at least one.
9 cuts of beef you cannot live without.
42 toll-painting tips – even for you!
6 new bikini wax patterns (compete with matching patterns for your back).
91 fail-proof excuses for being who you are!
2 perfumes to have when stranded on a desert island with that guy you promised you’d do nothing with, unless you were stranded on an island together.
5 ways to create an off-shore account (but it will cost more to get there than you have to deposit).
84 terrorists you can find and kill today.
3 ways to keep from crying when you fall in the middle of the road when it’s 6:00 in the morning and 1 degree outside and you’ve flattened your already flat chest and sprained your ankle.

And my personal favorite:
101 blogs to give insight to the Rabidrunner mind. Let’s hope I live long enough to do it.


Ellvie said...

I would have to say that numbers are something very important in our evolutionary history. Maybe not the first most important change, but rather part of a bigger change in our brains that allowed us abstract thought and communication capabilities. Many evolutionary anthropologists argue that the ability to speak was the thing to set us apart from our primate ancestors. This led to our evolutionary development and the way we are now. If you talk to some of the most influential and well known anthropologists here they will tell you that one of the first (and most important) differences between humans and chimpanzees is our long post-reproductive lifespan. Basically chimp females die within about five years of the birth of their last offspring (after menopause) but human females live on average another 20 to 30 years after menopause and continue to contribute to the success of their daughters so that they are able to have more children faster (the key to evolutionary success and competition prior to the use of birth-control).

rabidrunner said...

See! I knew my anthro-friend would come through!