Dude, where’s my title? Well… if you must have a title, here it is:
Rhymes, Bits, Mississippian, Squares: Redundancy.
Here we go with what I mean by that strange title, one word at a time. When I was in the third grade, there were various mnemonics to remember certain multiplication facts. One mnemonic that I remember well was along the lines of “Eight and eight fell on the floor. Picked them up and I had sixty-four.” (Now, 7-times-4 was one that often tripped me up on Mad Minutes–my most common erroneous response was 27 instead of 28. But that’s another topic for another post, maybe…)
On the topic of bits, that refers to the Nintendo 64 game system. It was definitely a part of my childhood in my late elementary school and early middle school years. Although I didn’t always get into trends of those years, video games was definitely one that I did. There were quite a few that I liked quite a bit like Star Fox 64, Mario Kart 64, and Zelda: Ocarina of Time. And this last summer when Levi picked me up from the Amtrak station, we both marveled at the fact that the system was 17 years old, having been released in 1996.
How about Mississippian? I drew the number “64” for the Lincoln Public Schools Oral Spelling Bee in 2000 (I think it was February 26), my seventh-grade year. In some sense, with the background of the previous paragraph, I felt that would be my lucky number. I can’t remember the first word that I spelled after the practice round, but it was something easy. In the second round:
NOAH: “Mississippian. m-i-s-s-i-s-s-i-p-p-i-a-n. Mississippian.”
JUDGE: “Not correct.”
I was really disappointed, having made it to the fourth round in 1998 (bowing out after “t-e-n-a-s-i-t-y” [tenacity]) and the third round in 1999 (knocked off by “h-e-p-h-e-r” [heifer]), and did not take the consolation prize of a coupon to Godfather’s Pizza when I alighted the stage. Returning to where Mom, Dad, and Mrs. Sanks (my fifth grade teacher) were sitting, they had a hopeful aura about them–thankfully (rhyme with Sanks not intended) one or more of them had gone to appeal the decision.
Indeed, I had not mis-spelled the word, because you are not required to capitalize an always-capitalized word. So, I was reinstated! (There were also one or two other spellers that were reinstated for judge errors that year.) Most of the other words I cannot remember, but two that I remember well are “labyrinth” and “chamberlain.” The latter I knew because of it being a garage door opener make! Eventually, the contest came down to Noah vs. Will, the defending champion. I don’t recall what word he erred on that I got correct, but after that:
NOAH (to self): (I know this word! It was mentioned in a letter in an old Nintendo Power magazine when a reader was concerned that the PlayStation would annihilate Nintendo’s business.)
NOAH (matter-of-factly): “Annihilate. a-n-n-i-h-i-l-a-t-e. Annihilate.”
I can’t remember what my reaction was–recall that my memory for older events is mostly with relation to what happened or where I was, as opposed to the emotions. But, it was exciting as I won a check for $100 (ostensibly for travel expenses to Omaha), a dictionary, and the right to advance to the Midwest Spelling Bee in Omaha the next month.
So, that takes care of Mississippian. Then, for Square, I quickly developed 64 as my favorite number after the Spelling Bee. Not long after that, my e-mail address (which had been “firstname.lastname@example.org” had been administratively changed (I don’t know why) to “Noah121Weiss@netscape.net.” Although I didn’t think about it at the time, 121 = 11^2, and since 64 = 8^2, I decided to generalize and make perfect squares a favorite family of numbers.
And finally, that brings me to Redundancy. With a whole post about the number 64, do I really need a title when the title is already there in the countoff?
(And there’s also an Easter egg in the time of posting of this post: I timed it to publish 64 minutes after I woke up.)
Today is the sixty-fourth day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes nine weeks and one day.