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Round Numbers.

7 August 2013

I like round numbers. They’re satisfying in an inexplicable way. The “odometer effect” matters to me. I didn’t do anything special for the year 2000 changeover. Just hung out with my friend Jimmy Legs, if I recall. I got drunk and went to bed. I did that a lot. I was 25.

I can’t explain why the odometer effect matters. It’s only a function of having 10 fingers. If we had eight fingers, piano harmonies would be slightly less complex, and round numbers would come around significantly more often. The year 2000 in an eight-fingered world would’ve happened in AD 1024 as we reckon it. All kinds of other things would be easier to calculate, because we wouldn’t have an odd prime as a factor of our decimal base.

And today, if I had 8 fingers, I’d be celebrating day 3,720. Which has less of a ring to it. But it’d mean the same thing. But, in our good old ten-fingered world, today is a nice round number. Smooth and beautiful.


And that’s a lot of days. Two thousand times in a row I’ve gone to bed sober, and then woken up and not had a drink that day. Today seems like a good day to keep that up that streak.

A streak of little miracles, strung one after another. Some days were wonderful. Some were agonizing. But one by one they’ve stretched out into this peculiar state I’ve come to call my sobriety. And slowly but surely, the mean quality of my days has improved.

It’s a strange paradox: each day the road seems tilted more in my favor.  When I was a drunk, I felt like I was climbing up a cliff everyday just to descend further into a nightmare. Now, I feel like I’m walking a smooth easy road, a slight downhill, a little assist to make my travels lighter. And yet I climb higher and higher into a marvelous future.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Ruth permalink
    7 August 2013 22:37

    Congratulations! (I love round numbers too.)

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