It’s June 9th, and for the more mature crowd out there it’s just another boring Tuesday. But for the juvenile jokesters of the world it is a holiday: it’s 6/9. Which looks like 69, which is hilarious. At LOL CLT I’ve declared this day the Summer LOLstice – a day to celebrate that most immature and fleeting of pleasures: the world’s only funny number.
Ah, sixty-nine. The bane of math teachers everywhere. The last bastion for comedy in the bleak quantitative world of number theory. I myself have fond memories of sniggering conspiratorially in middle school mathematics at the mere mention of that hilarious integer lurking slightly before 70. Back then, I had only the faintest of ideas what that number signified. All I knew was that it had something to do with sex, and that was enough to cause my juvenile mind to quiver into a gelatinous mass of uncontrollable giggling.
69 – The Only Funny Number
To this day, the number 69 makes me smile. I don’t care what precise act of sexual congress it denotes. That’s beside the point. All I know is that it’s a funny number. In fact, it is the ONLY funny number.
Sure, someone had to explain to me embarrassingly late in life that the numerals 6 and 9 look like two people exploring their sexuality. But that’s not why I’ve held on to the number. There’s something magical about a funny number. The world of mathematics is so dry and boring. Anytime I’m involved in a task that requires addition of integers or, heaven forbid, Algebra, I am supremely out of my element. I am uncomfortable in the realm of the strictly quantitative. There’s no nuance, there’s no storytelling, there’s nothing that I find remotely familiar or interesting. I am often lost, confused, frustrated. But then, there’s one equation that always brings levity to the proceedings:
70 – 1 = LOL
For years I have been a dedicated devotee to the cult of the number sixty-nine. Whenever anyone asks me a question that can be answered with a number, it is always 69.
“How many people were there?” “Oh, about 69.”
“How far along have you gotten on that blog?” “Oh, I’d say I’m around 69% done.”
“How much did those shoes cost?” “Probably around $69.00”
“How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” “69.”
The key is the deadpan delivery – the straight-faced innocence that precedes my interlocutors’ realization that I’m an idiot. They’ve been had. That most immature of integers has duped them once again. Most of the time they laugh, sometimes they scoff and only rarely do they seem upset.
The Cult of the Funny Number
It’s gotten to the point where my friends expect me to say that number, and find themselves noticing it in their daily lives. If a study says 69% of people interviewed have a certain opinion, I’m the one who gets a link to the article. If number 69 Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings makes a great play, I get the text message. I don’t know how it happened but I became the de facto leader of the Cult of the Funny Number. Worse things have happened in my life. I didn’t always want to be associated with the number sixty-nine but over time I have become a defender of the lonely number. It is awash in negative connotations, it is deemed offensive and uncouth, it has been banned from polite conversation.
6/9 – The Summer LOLstice
Well, today my immature brethren rejoice! It is the LOLstice – and today we celebrate by laughing at the date. The month and the day of the year, expressed in numbers, is finally funny! Comedy has for one, brief and shining moment conquered time and mathematics to get a giggle out of that dour undertaking. For one day, let’s all just sit back and enjoy the rarity and special magic that is 6/9. Because tomorrow won’t be nearly as funny, and there’s no guarantee the next day will be either.
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*I just want to point out that this particular article was written to be precisely 690 words long.