I love six. It’s such a great number. It was my number when I played tee-ball for Trude’s Hardware as a wee lad. I remember it was my number because there is a cute little picture of me in my blue and yellow Trude’s Hardware uniform holding a bat and wearing a goofy over-sized, straight-brimmed hat (don’t bother to slope the brim for me, I'm good. Thanks Mom and Dad!) with an adorable, slightly mischievous, smile. There’s a giant shiny, ironed-on “6” on my back…the kind of giant number sticker that slowly peels off with each wash. Seriously, it’s priceless. If you saw the photo, you’d purse your lips, go “awwww” and pinch my cheeks. Guaranteed.
I also love six because of its many and varied uses. It’s the perfect way to describe my pack of abs. It’s my favorite number of beers to place on my lap to watch the NCAA tournament (after first clearing the puppy with a gentle arm sweep and yelp). Need to tattoo the mark of the beast on your children? Try doing it with triple fours. You’ll be lucky to get a disgruntled leprechaun. And how else would you know how many possible film roles separate your favorite actor from Kevin Bacon? Want to obtain '36' by multiplying the same number against itself? Yeah, I think you get the point.
Six is good. It’s great in a group but also nice by yourself. Oh – tee hee – I see how that could be misconstrued. Unintended.
Six has been showing up a lot more lately and I’m happy to see it. After a long winter of uneven, slippery surfaces, all of my mile paces started with sevens and, on a few occasions, eights. I wondered if I’d ever see six again.
Then, the snow melted, the temperatures warmed, my Sherpa running gear remained in the closet, and, lo and behold, there are the sixes again. They aren’t as regular as I would like yet. They show up sporadically in my mile splits like pimples on the chin of a “before” Proactiv celebrity. I’d like to fill the Garmin up with sixes like a real pizza face but these things take time. I’ll be content with a six here and a six there and a few sixes clustered over there on the bridge of the nose.
I’ve become such a six fiend that when my 800 interval pace dropped into the fives recently, I became a bit annoyed. Fives?! There was no Five Million Dollar Man. It took all Six Million to make the bionics work. (And seven million is just being wasteful. I think we can all agree on that.)
Next week, my tempo run should return lots of sixes as I kick the half-marathon training into full speed. The sixes will pop up with every beep of the Garmin. The question will become: what six was best? It’ll be a regular battle of the sixes.
Until then, I’m happy to see its sporadic return. Some say that a six is merely a poor man’s nine. An upside down number. A hastily drawn “G”. They don’t respect the six. But a 9 is structurally unsound. The heavy circle hangs precariously on an off-center stem. Just look at it: 9. That thing could collapse at any moment. Name me one engineer that would build something like that. No, a six is where it’s at. More stable. More pleasing to the eye. More loaded with euphemisms. Besides, it even has its own proverb:
A Six in Time Saves Nine
Or something like that.
I’m enjoying the sixes. I hope to enjoy six more often. As a solo runner, it’s something I can directly control. No matter what I do at home, when I lace up the shoes and head out, Mrs. Nitmos can’t possibly withhold six from me.