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From Shamrocks to Coffins.

My lucky number has always been 4.

To me this seems completely logical and natural. Perhaps you can relate: you may have, like me, dedicated a significant portion of your childhood dirt digging to four-leaf clover hunting. You would probably still get excited if you found one of these bad boys (I actually never have… I am pretty sure that my dad fabricated one for me next to the sandbox after one of my pouty tirades… i.e. “Daaah-deeeee, I’m never gonna be lucky!”…not kidding).

Many people are drawn to 7. Not quite sure why? I’m sure there’s a historical reason for this? A mystic once told me that we live our lives in cycles of 7 years, after which we experience a “rebirth” of sorts. Hence the hormonal awkwardness of 14 and the sloppy drunkenness of 21. Can’t wait for the maternal yearnings of 28, the “holy crap, I’m old” of 35, and the mid life crisis of 42. Maybe the “luckiness” begins after 7 of these so-called cycles, with an early retirement to the Canary Islands at 49.

For whatever reason, people remain dedicated to their lucky digits. Some prefer the number 9. The more rebellious folk will sometimes go for the universally unlucky 13.

I, however, remain dedicated to 4. After all, it was just over 24 years ago, on the 14th day of November, that I first flailed and kicked my 4 stubby appendages into my mother’s arms to become the 4th member of a loving domestic unit of 4 (our family name also begins with the 4th letter of the alphabet, if you want to get super technical). I use this glorious digit in all guessing games, gambling ventures, and online usernames. Four has been good to me.

I now take this opportunity to thank you, Number Four. And to Hail, ye Gods of Numerology….


. . . .


So apparently, I am doomed. For, as I just learned, the number 4 is actually synonymous with death. That’s right: in cities across Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan, hospitals lack fourth floors. Hotels and office buildings are often the same. Wedding receptions lack tables numbered 4. Some people even avoid sitting in groups of 4 for afternoon tea. “Tetraphobia” is indeed a, globally spanning condition, which shapes and hinders the daily interactions of the superstitious.

My Italian colleague just interrupted me as I read him the first line of this blog:

“Oh, no—coffins!”

So much for my sham-rocking, 4 leaf clover picking, St. Paddy’s Day plans.

And so much for my date of birth, which, in Cantonese, means “certainly die.”

True, yet haunting.

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