Triskaidekaphobia is the word for fear of the number 13. Greek, this word translates literally as “3 and 10 fear”. It is a subset of the general fear of numbers, numerophobia. Triskaidekaphobia is a superstition that is said to originate with the idea that Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus Christ, was the 13th person at the Last Supper and since Christ died on a Friday, every Friday the 13th is said to be unlucky. In general, there is no proof for this superstition, except for today. This Friday the 13th is unlucky enough to find itself overshadowed by tomorrow.
Tomorrow, Pi Day or March 14th occurs every year, but tomorrow will be the Pi Day of the century. If you write tomorrow’s date using the shorthand, 3/14, then this sequence corresponds to the first three digits of the number Pi, 3.14, the ratio between the diameter and circumference of a circle. If you add the year to the date, 3/14/15, then this year you get the first five digits of Pi, 3.1415, but it goes further. Tomorrow, at 9:26:53, you get the Pi second of the century, 3.141592653. You could go further, but I find that the enjoyment of the moment is only that much shorter.
The math teacher said, “Area equals pi R squared.”
The slow student answered, “Pie aren’t square they’re round.”
I could not find any word for the general fear of dates. Google only returned entries for fear of first dates. I also couldn’t find anything on the fear of Pi, which is surprising, because it is an irrational number. The closest that I came was the word, pastrophobia or the fear of pastries, which includes pies. Fear of flaky desserts should not be confused with fear of deserts or xerophobia, although I have done so in the past, but my spelling is better now. Right? I know that the desert pic is a stretch for this post, but it is cool and maybe scary. I got a mini cherry pie today that I thought that Anne and I might share tomorrow at the opportune time, assuming we have the courage of our convictions.
I do have a fear of our sump pump. If I am in the basement, doing laundry and the pump kicks off in a roar, it always gives me a start. If I am lying in bed and in the middle of the night and it kicks off, I also find that unsettling. It sounds like some large creature is growling downstairs. It rained all day today and the soil was already saturated, I’m expecting a fitful night’s sleep tonight.
In addition to being Pi Day, tomorrow is also Albert Einstein’s birthday. It is also Pat A’s, another genius. File this under the saying, ‘every dog has his day’, but I was called a genius today and by my boss no less. Maybe it would be better filed under the saying, ‘the one-eyed man in the land of the blind is king’. It has been very hectic at work lately, but because of circumstances beyond my control, I have managed to avoid the worst of it. Honestly! A lot of other people have been burning their candles at both ends. Today, we had two tables that we wanted to ensure were the same. One was in a Word document and the other was in Excel. Two of the walking dead were prepared to go number-by-number by hand through hundreds of numbers when I suggested just subtracting the two. You should end up with a table of only zeros. My boss just happened to be present when I made this suggestion and he actually called me a genius. He even went on to sing my praise to his boss. I was reminded, what Gitmo interrogators have known for some time, sleep deprivation is a powerful weapon.