Saturday, April 5, 2014

Favourite Numbers

There are Corvette kids and Trans-Am kids, I was a Corvette kid. My brother was cucumber, I was tomato. His favourite number was five so I couldn't have five also. I went with seven. Seven is ok. I still don't understand people who didn't have a favourite number as children. Or a favourite colour. I ask them, what's your favourite number, as if it still mattered and they pause, uncertain. Sometimes they even go so far as to think the question stupid.
    Kids attach to things and to ideas. Things often are ideas, to kids. Cucumber means something very different than tomato. Cucumber is Bert, tomato is Ernie. Seven oddly enough is more cucumber than tomato but this is not a precise science. This is a mythopoetic structure that assumes free float on occasion. Entanglements occur, schisms rise and fall, seas part and mountains crumble.
    Adults can secretly, unknowingly glom onto the number two and not ever think they are infected with anything. They go ahead and divvy up this big old world into this and that, tit and tat, tomato and tomato. Good for them, these little magpies. They've taken shiny things and left the dull to their enemies. Wars aren't made by the number two, it's more complicated than that but for the popular vote, two is instrumental. It must be firmly planted in the supporter's mind.
    Any kid of course can like two fruits or two sports cars. But sometimes the dividing line pops out clear and strong and it can't be crossed until maturity sets in and wipes the playing field clean. Having a favourite doesn't mean you can't like the other thing. It means you have a favourite. Reasons why are arcane, inscrutable. I saw it first. You like that so I don't because I'm not you, I'm me. I like it because I saw it when I was having ice cream. I like Corvettes because Mrs. Walker had one. My grade four teacher was pretty. She also drove a Jimmy. Both vehicles were metallic brown, if that's possible. Small flakes of sparkle. Maybe burgundy brown. Later on Peter K. liked Trans-Ams and he was a bit of a jerk, so fuck Trans-Ams. But not with that word yet, that's still a bad word.
    My mother tells me that when I was very young I couldn't get enough of cucumbers. Apparently I OD'd on them before the onset of memory. I got sick of them while my brother continued to enjoy them. So naturally I assumed they were his thing and me ? Tomatoes. Bert is taller than Ernie, taller means older like my brother was. Cucumbers are taller than tomatoes. Bert is long and Ernie is round. If Bert was green it would be perfect.
    Tomato goes great with lettuce. I loved lettuce. Could eat a whole head of it. A proud moment was when a truck full of crates of lettuce was spotted and my older brother told some neighbour kid that I, his kid brother could eat that whole thing. I could too. It didn't stop at tomatoes. Eventually I warmed up to cucumbers. Trans-Ams too. Beyond this and that, number three has been with me for a long time. Three plus seven makes ten. Ten is two fives. I always wanted number five to be my fave.