What’s your favorite number? Do you even have a favorite number? Is it completely lame to have a favorite number? Does this topic even garner enough attention to require a full post devoted to it? I’m sure it will once I tell you that the number 11 has been exiled. I know what your thinking right now. “C’mon Jay, are you that fresh out of ideas that you couldn’t come up with your usual geeky or perverse material?” The survey says: We’ll have plenty of time for the usual stuff, but for now keep in mind how much we revered numbers back in our Sesame Street days:
I bet the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the number “11” is the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01. Not only was the date 9/11 but one of the hijacked planes was American Airlines flight 11. On the anniversary of 9/11 it’s certainly not a proper time to be discussing vulgar tirades in movies, why I want to bang Janine Melnitz, and other useless crap that makes me such a geek. I’d like to get serious for a moment and recognize the number 11 for all its positive accomplishments. The number 11 has held much significance in my life and with that kind of service I hate to see it being cast out as a tragic, unlucky number. As you’ll read in this article 11 is not all bad, and it sure as hell isn’t the loneliest number.
You’ll hear a lot of people say their lucky number is 7. Not only do 7 and 11 share the moniker of a famous convenience store but they also have other similarities. Even though the attack on Pearl Harbor happened on 12/7/41, you don’t see people treating the number 7 like Dr. Richard Kimble, do you? It’s number prejudice! 11/11 is veterans day and it symbolized the end of WW1. So next time you roll up to get a Big Gulp or a Slurpee, take a moment to contemplate the long and storied relationship of numbers 7 and 11.
The world of rock music also has several ties to the number 11. Perhaps the most well known is Spinal Tap who can turn their amps “up to 11” even though others only go to 10. Since then, “Turn it up to 11” has become a rock cliché. My birthday falls on 3/11 and an easy way to get people to remember it is to think of the band 311. They got their name from an indecent exposure ticket issued by the Omaha Police Department which had the code 3.11 on it. Motley Crue founder and rock icon Nikki Sixx heads up Eleven Seven Music, (another instance of the classic 7-11 pairing) a record label that features Crue, Buckcherry, and Marion Raven. On their album Move Along, The All American Rejects feature a song titled 11:11. At some point I’m sure you’ve heard someone (usually a girl) say “it’s 11:11 make a wish.” Then you went on to wish for one night alone with Angelina Jolie instead of the sloppy mess who told you to make the wish.
Recently, after I told my boss that there are all these coincidences regarding my favorite number he immediately thought of 9/11. “You need to change that number” he warned me. I’m not known to be superstitious or reject honest, innocent numerals so I will continue praising the awesome number 11. Through the years of having anniversaries on the date and the number 11 etched on my basketball and track jerseys how can I abandon it now? You expect me to wrap the number in bloody towels and throw it in the trash? No way! I’m hoping it will help me out since I’m off to Las Vegas in a couple of days and 11 is no stranger to sin city. In Blackjack, the ace can be counted as 1 or 11, whichever benefits the player. Also, the 1960 heist film Oceans 11 featuring the Rat Pack and it’s 2001 remake are both considered to be 2 of the best Vegas films of all time. Will 11 be my lucky number in Vegas?
Wikipedia has an exhaustive entry on the meaning of the number 11 and its references in pop culture. Here are a few that are included in that entry and some others as well:
– There’s eleven players per team on the field during an NFL football game. The New York Giants are the only team to retire a #11 jersey.
– The first manned spacecraft to land on the moon was Apollo 11
– The average adult male heart weighs 11 ounces
– The eleventh hour is known as a time of urgency
– Ben Hur, Titanic, and Lord of the Rings have each won 11 Academy Awards.
– Mash and Cheers both ran for 11 seasons
**During an “11” Google search I found a page that is just asinine. The site is called “Joy Greetings” but features a picture of the twin towers ablaze. It lists all the numeral coincidences surrounding 9/11. This struck me as ridiculous since there’s no “joy” to be had when thinking of that day and how it relates to being a “greeting” is beyond me. Somewhere the person that runs that site is raking in a ton of money from traffic revenue.