It’s about the almost number

Nick Wolochatiuk ~ Dances With Words
It’s about the almost number
ALMOST AFFORDABLE – I wanted to buy the more expensive Gorilla DVD, but I only had a ten-dollar bill, so I settled for the tape. Then I found out the $9.99 didn’t include the tax. (Photo by Nick Wolochatiuk)

The number ‘zero’, is also expressed as zilch, nada and nil. ‘10’ indicates perfection, as in Nadia Comaneci’s 10s at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Another 10: Bo Derek in the 1979 movie of the same number. More recently, Guy Lafleur’s Montreal Canadien’s number.

At furthest end of the scale is infinity. If my computer would allow me to flip an ‘8’ 90-degrees, I could reproduce the ‘infinity’ symbol. In Scripture, (Matthew 18:21-22), Jesus was asked “How often should one be forgiven?”, his response was “seventy times seven”. I guess Matthew’s laptop didn’t have the infinity symbol either.

Let’s give number ‘9’, my Sesame Street number of the week, some thought.

If they had cars instead of donkeys in Biblical times, I’m sure gasoline pumps would have had a ‘.IX’ per liter after the price whole numbers. In our day, gasoline is currently going for $175.9 per liter, never $176. The ‘.9’ is always there.

These days something ‘99’ and something else ‘.99’ claims “This is a bargain!”

The real estate agent claims, “This charming handyman special fixer-upper is going for only $199,000”, but the current owner asserts it as, “A bargain at $200,000.” Who is fooling whom? If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck – it’s a duck.

There have been many nines in my life. By giving me a 49.9% in my final exam, my grade XIII Latin teacher was saying, “If I liked you, and if you had worked hard, I could have given you a pass. See you next September.”

One of my favourite drives is on B.C. 99, more often called “The Sea to Sky Highway”, between the sea at Vancouver and the sky at Whistler. It was thanks to the 2010 winter Olympics that the once treacherous road was transformed to a safe scenic highway. Unfortunately, some of the adrenaline-fuelled young junkies do their best to once again convert it to being treacherous.

If you’re familiar with Toronto, you know the significance of the address ‘999 Queen Street West’.

Being under legal drinking and driving age, but being almost of age, a teen’s logic says “I’m actually seventeen, because 16.999 is much closer to seventeen than my actual age of sixteen. I’ll have a Molson’s.”

If the aviation machinist says to his assistant, “Cut me a piece of titanium that’s 7.999 cm long”, he’d better measure three times and cut very, very carefully.

If “A stitch in time saves nine”, why doesn’t it save 8 or 10?

I’ve used up 99.999 % of my weekly word allotment, so I’d better quit.

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