Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Maybe She's Just a Fan of Base Nine...

Miss O and I were practicing her counting tonight -- I would start counting ("20, 21, 22...) and then, when I'd get to 29, I'd say "twenty-ten," and Miss O would say, "There's no twenty-ten -- it's 30!" And then I'd keep going. Pretty fucking cute. So, I get up to 100, which leads to the following exchange:

ME: 107 108, 109... 110!

MISS O: No, not 110. There is no 110.

ME: Sure there is. It's just like starting over when you get to 100. After nine, it's ten, then 11, then 12--

MISS O: NO! In my class, there's a chart and it only goes to 109. There aren't any numbers after that!

ME: Well, the chart might stop, Miss O, but the numbers keep on going forever. What did you think came after 109?

MISS O: One thousand!

ME: Well, 1000 doesn't show up for a long time. There's 100, 200, 300--

MISS O: [getting really pissed] But there's not 110! It doesn't sound good!

ME: Here, do you want me to write it down so you can see--


ME: Hey, let's go brush your teeth!

See, you've gotta learn when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em with Miss O. If I had pushed our debate much further, I'm pretty sure she'd make it a point to never count above 109 for the rest of her life. And without the number 110, she'd never be able to experience the joys of things like Ununnilium, the 110th element in the Periodic Table, or the signature oven-roasted whole garlic served with warm, crusty French bread at Chicago's Bistro 110, located on the Magnificent mile. Or the fact that a person can't even be considered a supercentenarian until they are 110 years old.

And not to mention 111 -- the perfect totient number!

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