We are drowning in a sea of numbers in this digital world. In this piece, Roy Van Til asserts that zero and one are the cornerstones that truly define the human experience. And for him, it is clearly a Life of One.
The author hopes you enjoy the reading and that you place the unique numbers of your own life into a context that makes perfectly good sense to you.
The Life of One
We live by the numbers: Born 2/12/1945. Now at 66.5, 75’ tall, 211 lbs., LDL:71, HDL: 43, BP: 128/77, CHOL 129, pulse 60, SSN .......18, home phone, cell phone, IQ, GPA, internet address #, eight credit card numbers, car loan, personal loan numbers, credit rating scores, life expectancy, insurance policy numbers, home address 577, ZIP Code 04360, area code 207, favorite Megabucks numbers though all are equal in probability, latitude 44.5N, longitude 69.9W, six air conditioners, five fans, 18 cylinders on three SUV’s, two mowers, three TV’s, two iPods, two cell phones, thousands of songs and books and tapes and CD’s and DVD’s and cassettes and 8-tracks and LP’s and 45‘s, etc. We are all enumerated, digitized, pigeon-holed, scanned, measured, and tabulated... mere integers hoping to avoid reduction to nameless cyphers. But apart from the life or death medical diagnostics, we might learn a more powerful lesson from much smaller digits.
Indeed, the simplest numbers will tell the more important story...and for myself, it has been a Life of One:
Living at this one moment, I have one mother one month from one century, (my one father died five years ago); I plan to live one century, got one third to go; one brother, one sister, one spouse; one son and one daughter, each with one small child; one home, one lifelong career (teaching), one country (the good old USA), and one unshakeable system of beliefs in one rational, knowable, logical universe. The Ones rule!
But the Zeroes can be cruel: I am convinced each of us is known for the ones and up and not the zeroes in our lives, although those nulls can often tell a lot of peripheral details about a person. (And worst of all, of course, are the tragic subtractions. I hope you have been spared the horrors of loss.)
My zeroes include the following: Traveled to Chicago, or Disney, or New Orleans, or Asia, or Africa, or South America, or Antarctica? Nada. (But enjoyed countless other places).
SCUBA, skydiving, snowboarding, lacrosse, high diving? Not a chance. (Vertigo is optional in life).
Grand total of speeding tickets? Zilch. (Just lucky, I guess).
Number of tattoos and piercings? Null. (The three trips to barber shops in my life were painful enough to witness).
Number of invisible spirits or horoscopes or witches or astrologers or faith healers or supposedly sacred texts believed in? The big goose egg on all that mumbo jumbo. (The natural world is magnificent enough without myths).
Tally of quickies and one-night stands and mistresses and prostitutes cavorted with in forty years of marriage? Never. (A man is no better than his promise to the mother of their children).
Number of cigarettes smoked in my lifetime? None. (We are given one body and there is no room for suicide).
Amount of coffee, booze, wine, beer, illicit drugs ever tried or tasted or chundered? Absolutely zero.
(A great life requires no recreational chemical assist).
Number of non-sports uniforms worn? Zero. (Give me freedom over conformity). Number of fist fights ever involved in? Zero. (Give peace a chance).
Life by the numbers. Because of all the vital Ones, many of the Zeroes make awfully good sense. This is the personal arithmetic of the Life of One.
RVT Vienna, Maine