Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Lucky Number

It's weird about numbers, how we relate to certain numbers, have favorites, etc.

I'm a 4.  I have always thought of myself as a 4.  Perhaps because I was born on the fourth day of the month.  I thought of my mother as a 2, though she was born on the 24th day of the first month of the year.  The then love of my life, for many years, was a 7.  The combination of him and me (4 + 7) in my mind came up, not as 11, but 47. 

That this was indeed my lucky number was first confirmed--or so I convinced myself--years ago when I agreed to go one afternoon with a friend to the dog races.  To me, this friend was just a casual acquaintance.  But I think at the time he thought of our little excursion as a date. 

On the way to the ticket booth, he explained the basics on how to place a bet.  I was more interested in looking at the thin, sleek, graceful greyhounds, wondering what kind of life they led when they were not training or racing.  He asked me which dogs I wanted to bet on.  I don't remember the names of any of the dogs and because he was in a hurry, I gave him $2 and said to bet on numbers 4 to win and 7 to place.  (4 + 7 = 47) He made his bets based on a thorough examination of each dog's racing history and current predicted favorites.  Dogs Number 4 and 7 weren't among them.

Imagine his (and my) surprise when 4 won and 7 came in second.  He was dumbfounded and scowled and muttered something like "Beginner's luck!"    I don't remember the exact amount of the winnings but it was around $50 (a considerable amount at the time, for two poverty-stricken students), which he insisted we had to split because it was he who went to the booth and placed the bet for me.  He seemed miffed that none of his picks had turned out, and that I, a race-gambling newbie, who wasn't even paying attention when he explained how to bet, ended up winning.  But that seemed to me at the time, a message from the universe.  Yes, your lucky number is indeed 47.

Fast forward to today and I'm web surfing for some info on an entirely unrelated matter and come across a poem written about the number 47, by Bulgarian poet Ivan Kulekov.  Here it is:

It may not be the greatest number in the world, but it's still my lucky number, to this day.  I've won lottery tickets (nothing substantial, usually only in the $10 range, but once for $40) when that number was specifically chosen, and twice on a "quick pick" where the store machine picked the number for me.  Not that I do this often--I mean what are the odds of winning even a hundred dollars buying a lottery ticket--and it's probably only coincidence, but the myth lives on, ha ha, that this number, 47,  is still significant, despite the connotation on which it was originally based.  

Silly humans and their strange beliefs: That 1 is more important than 2, that 13 is unlucky, that 66 is evil, that saying "Be back in 2 minutes" sounds better somehow than "Be back in 3 minutes".

But hey, how many people can say their personal lucky number has a whole poem written about it? I'm thrilled.

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