Monday, December 6, 2010

Never Trust A Number.

Never Trust A Number.
by james bezerra

Oh numbers!
Why do people trust you so?
You’re not so much better than letters!

Though your squiggles tend to be more curvaceous.
And the gentle, sumptuous slopes of all your zeros and eights are positively lascivious.
But why do people trust 3,582,676 to be real,
yet scoff at the words like appendectomy?

Remove the context and the meaning
and all you numbers are just interchangeable broken loops!
Letters at least work together in teams and -
like the Amish raising a barn -
build a whole.

Change a letter and a word may become useless:
No one deposits money in a cank.
Two people never fall in kove.
No one prays to Sod.

This is not so with you cetaceous numbers.
3,582,676 is almost identical to 3,582,675.
Who would even notice the difference?
You devious numbers, you!

You each and always stubbornly retain your own value.
8 is always 8.
800 is just 8 one hundreds.
8,000 is just 8 one thousands.
I am not fooled!

If not for those enabling - but oh so plump - zeros none of you would
ever be good
for anything;
so insistent are you upon your own prideful importance.
Upon your own singular and specific amount.

I don’t trust or like you: the number 360.
Yet without you, we could not have words like
cathedral or circle or globe
and I do like those words.

I don’t like or trust you: the number 0.
And when some
say that you’re not a number at all, but
merely a concept,
I trust you even less.
And I resent that I have to refer to your amount in plural:
I have zero turnips . . .
I have zero lovers . . .

Because it makes me think you’re mocking me.
And it costs me an extra s.

Oh numbers!
Don’t act so high
and mighty just because
you form the fundamental basis of all math and science
and have an intrinsic universal meaning that
exists beyond nature
and time (unlike
words like bright or cold or lieutenant).
You’re not so special!

And I think that
people only accept and trust
your tyranny because
they are afraid of the loss of you.
Afraid that, if you’re angered, there will
be fewer and few of you
in their savings accounts,
in their blood platelet count,
or in their IQ.

I don’t need you! And
I don’t trust you, you wily numbers!
I don’t like you: the number 42.
For my part,
I will make due with forty-two.


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