Between Ten and Twelve
I happened to overhear one of you students mention yesterday that this coming Sunday, the 11th of November, will be Angela’s eleventh birthday. Noting that this was an extraordinary lineup of elevens I decided to save these last few minutes of today’s class to share a couple related things.
Fun part first.
Please look up here at the blackboard. We’ll start by learning some magic with the number 11. Angela, would you please give me a random number. 31, okay, thank you. So, we’ll take 31 and multiply it by 11. And we get 341. Now we will reverse those numbers — making it 1–4–3 — and divide that by 11. The answer we get is the reverse numerals of 31…1–3. And you can do that with any number multiplied by 11! Pretty awesome, eyh?
This second part is a bit darker view of the number eleven.
Does anyone in class know the phrase the Eleventh Hour? Nobody?! Well — Eleventh Hour refers to the clock, to the last hour before twelve midnight. It is symbolic of the last possible moment to take care of something — implying a situation of urgency or danger. And — there’s a rather scary symbolic thing called the Doomsday Clock, which scientists came up with a long time ago to measure the potential of man-made global catastrophe. Everything on the clock is set within the Eleventh Hour, but the closer the clock gets to midnight the more jeopardy the world is in. And, alarmingly, because of the continued threat from nuclear weapons and the lack of progress in confronting climate change, the clock was set to 11:58 earlier this year, the worst it has ever been!
I guess that’s a gloomy statement on the situation of the world today.
I did look it up online last night and discovered that the furthest away from midnight it has ever been was in 1991 — seventeen minutes away from midnight. I was 27 years old then and first starting out to be a teacher.
Okay, let’s lighten this up a bit — back to numbers. Based on what I just told you can an anyone tell me how old I am now? Go ahead, you an use pen and paper. You got it Andrew, thank you; fifty-four.
To sum up these numerical digressions— I do have hope that young people like yourselves can turn the world around in a better direction, maybe even set that Clock back a few hours. My birthday wish for Angela, for all of you in fact, is a future filled with the kind of awe and fun and creativity that emerges from numbers, as well as an awareness of the responsibilities as to what we do with that magic. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. Class dismissed.
Eleven of thirty-one stories — 500 words or less, written one-per-day during December 2018 — The Hunt & Peck Parables PatchWord Quilt™©.
© AleXander Hirka 2020. All Rights Reserved.