Sunday, January 24, 2010

4 + 8 + 15 + 16 + 23 + 42 = 108 Trust me, it's relevant.

I enjoy the show “Lost.” With the premiere of the final season of Lost about to begin, it got me thinking about the recurring themes and especially the numbers that pop up over and over again – 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42. (I should mention here that I highly suspect that the show is going to continue in some form. I doubt Hollywood would let such a successful franchise just end without trying to milk it for all it is possibly worth.)

As with most numbers that supposedly have a related hidden meaning, you start to see a mix-and-match of math with those numbers. One thing that popped up several times is the number 108, which is all the numbers added together (4+8+15+16+23+42=108). I spent a couple weeks wondering why that number rang a bell and then it hit me.

(This is the part where I flashback about fifteen years earlier to a cold but sunny winter day.)

From what I can tell from experience talking to people, it usually takes three times on the ski slopes to really get comfortable on a snowboard. I thought I was going to take to it like a fish to water, but it was on the third day that I started having enough control and confidence to take some jumps and have some fun with it. I was with a friend that was at about the same skill level and while riding the lift up, we would pick out a jump that would be our target for the ride back – that way we would have plenty of time to fine tune our speed and what angle we would come at since we still weren’t adept enough to just wing it.

At mid-day we were in the "zone" and cruising down the hill, feeling good. There was a group of kids with the ski school that all had numbered bibs on their back to keep track of them all. Navigating through the waves of children required concentration but wasn’t too difficult.

However, there was one child that was about to ruin my day. I am moving at a pretty good clip when this kid turns over his shoulder, looks right at me, and then cuts me off anyway. I spin hard to avoid him, lose my balance and “catch an edge”. (For the non-snowboarders out there, this means that the front edge of my board has essentially morphed into a hinge between my body and the ground. Almost all my forward momentum gets converted into downward momentum to be absorbed by whatever I choose to take the impact – usually my wrists to be followed closely by my upper body and face.) I go down hard.

My friend rides up and asks what happened, I point at the kid gleefully continuing his ride down the mountain. He goes after him, I am unsure if he was going to give him a "talking to" about mountain etiquette or just glare at him, but it doesn’t matter because I am in recovery mode anyway.

After a minute I get up and gingerly slide down the slope and see my friend sitting down near the bottom of one of the trails. I stop next to him and he says, “He made a sharp turn and hit me in the temple with a ski pole and I bailed.”

The kid’s bib number? You guessed it. 108.

I have harbored an animosity for that kid for many years, but now I am having doubts. After watching Lost, I wonder if maybe it was necessary for him to force us to avoid that jump to circumvent some greater tragedy.

I don’t know, but one thing is for sure. Watch out for the one wearing number 108. Nothing good comes of it.

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