Triple Nines

“Now if a six turned out to be nine, I don’t mind, I don’t mind.” Jimi Hendrix, If 6 was 9

It’s three nines, again. This time it isn’t the year, but the day.

I don’t know if you guys out there follow numerology, but I sure do. The year 1999 worked out really well for me. Everything was full of promise and that was the very last year that I was idealistic. I believed in the inherent rightness of the world and that my achievements would somehow propel me into some alignment that would make it even better. It is hard to believe that I was twenty-five years old and still that naïve. I was so far gone back then.

I was well prepared to march. I had digested so much good old fashioned optimism that I was full as a tick and overgrowing. I wasn’t worrying about my life plan because it had all pretty much been decided. I don’t remember ever thinking that I was going to have to start all over again, from scratch. Now that I think about it, there are a lot of things that happened that year that followed the same theme. I graduated college and bravely left the best years of my life behind. I received a military commission and spent the next year and a half at sea. There is nothing like seeing the world for what it really is to cure any person of idealism.

But in triple nines, the world was still working fine for me. Hard work paid off. The achievements of a lifetime were recorded down in the annals of my personal history. Back then it was all about paper: little white pieces of paper. I believed momma instead of pop, he was dead, and surely my best would be good enough every single time. That really doesn’t have anything to do with anything but I just thought that I’d put that out there. I wasn’t really on it like that, but it was more like I already won. I wasn’t in the process of winning. The action was past tense, and I was merely living the formality. I looked at the numbers like upside-down sixes. It was my year, as far as I was concerned, and that was the year that saw me undefeated.

By the time triple zeros rolled, I was thoroughly disenchanted with way bigger concepts than my plan for success at life. I saw how straight the crooks played, and how the straight men cheated their way to dominance, and then cheated some more to maintain it. ‘The bright and shining lie’ was shattered like glass when I realized the steward’s paradox. It was decision time. I never thought that I would be given the choice. The way my father always painted it, I thought that the paths were going to be laid out before me. Instead the only thing clearly marked were methods of destruction. The system I had invested so heavily in was the machine by which worlds were all torn up.

Nine is the number that when multiplied reveals a sum that also equals nine, up to four digits, in the product. Nine multiplied by two equals eighteen, (18) one plus eight, equals nine. Nine multiplied by three equals twenty-seven, (27) two plus seven, equals nine and all that sort of thing… Most elementary kids know the secret of nine. As far as a mystical quality, I still feel like it is right up my alley. Today is still upside down sixes. I think that I’m supposed to be a winner today, so I’m going to act like it. I’m going to play the lottery.

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