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In Praise of Eleven

This might be a good year to reflect on the virtues of the number eleven. It is surely one of the coolest numbers. Sandwiched between the completeness of ten and the abundance of twelve, the number eleven just kind of hangs out there and plays it casual. It’s an odd number, of course, but it’s also an odd number, in the sense of being peculiar. You can’t quite get to eleven by counting on your fingers, and once you are there you realize how strange it is. Why, there hasn’t been a numeral quite this strange since seven. There’s a reason seven is the first counting number that takes more than one syllable. There’s a reason eleven takes three. They’re just a little more complicated. But whereas seven is celebrated in myth and legend, eleven has to fend for itself. It’s a lean, tough, challenging number, but it just might become your best friend if you treat it with respect.

Later this year we’ll be looking at 11-11-11. (That’s also Olivia’s birthday.) When the clock strikes 11:11, I for one plan to celebrate. I’ve got a week and ten months to figure out how.

Update: Apparently the world will end sooner than that. In fact it appears that the rapture is scheduled for my boss’ birthday.

Published inWords & Numbers

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