This morning I was reading a fun post on Ghost Medicine (a great blog by writer Andrew Smith) about his feelings about certain punctuation marks. It reminded me of how I've always, since I was a child, assigned gender to the numbers and letters. Not only that, but they also took on personalities in my imagination.
The alphabet and the numerals became characters and once that happened, I was never really able to shake the lives I made up for them.
I thought I'd share a little of their stories with you guys.
Let's start with the number 1. He's a boy, obviously. One of those shy boys that cling to their parents in the super market aisles and hide their face if someone waves to them or says hello. He's also allergic to apples.
Number 3 is a girl. She's the kind of little girl with an attitude. The kind that sticks her tongue out at you, calls you stinky, then runs away giggling with snot bubbles coming out of her nose.
Number 5 is a bully. He's the older boy that sticks his foot out to trip you when you're minding your own business trying to get to class.
The numbers obviously get older as the get higher. Number 10 is that big kid that lives down the street and smokes cigarettes and tries to get you to do bad things because he thinks it's funny when you get in trouble for it, but you'd do anyway because you want Number 10 to think you're cool.
Letters are bit more civilized in my mythology. Numbers merely grunt, but letters communicate. This tends to make their personalities less bratty.
MNLOP - that crowd is Dullsville. They're the nerds who stick together at a party talking only themselves about something only they are interested it. Probably something scientific or perhaps local politics.
The letter E is a a video game freak. You can just tell he has the bugged-out eyes to fit the profile. He's always wired and speaking a million words per minute. He's a good guy, but you don't want to be around him too long. He's exhausting.
The letter S is beautiful. Shaped perfectly. She's the kind of woman that walks into a room and most men know instantly that she's out of their league. Yet, she's not. Because S is also very down to Earth and engagible.
V...now V is out you're league.
B...well, that's easy. B is always perfect because B has always been a version of me.
And on and on it goes...Needless to say, Spelling and Math were always interesting in grade school. I simply did not like some of the characters I had to work with. It didn't always seem fair.
As you can tell the writer's ability to read into situations works not only to discover moments of the profound, but also tortures us with the silly. We dwell on these things that most people never consider. It's our blessing and our curse...but it certainly makes life more interesting.