The Bumbastories March Through the Numbers continues as we enter February, the second month. Even though the number of numbers is infinite, all of them are expressed by just nine numerals – plus the zero (we don’t want to forget anything – or rather we don’t want to forget nothin’). Anyhow, let’s look at the two… Drumroll…….The Two!
The two – the dos, the deux, the zvei – is the first real number. One is unity. It’s all the numbers, it’s everything, it’s not a real number. But when you get to the two, hey, now you’re counting!
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
Our world, the world of opposites, comes into being with this division: Heaven and earth, good and evil, life and death. Present and absent, holy and secular, male and female, up and down, true and false, baseball and Ballantine. And, of course, Abbott and Costello.
Life as we know it began when the first organism split in two. Mitosis enables cells to grow. The cells of our body are reproducing all the time. You’ll notice that if you don’t cut your hair, people will tell you that it’s gruesome (sorry).
Two is the first prime number! It is also the first even number! In fact the two generates all the odds and evens. Numbers are either 2n or 2n +1. The symmetry of the two, bilateral symmetry, is basic to most forms of life, which is good news for the centipedes and millipedes worldwide. The yin and yang, the dialectic, the dynamism of the two is how the world operates, how we see things. We discriminate between figure and ground, we start to count. Two is how it is, my friend.
It takes two to tango. The dance, the interplay – and I’m trying to keep this clean – of the sexes, is the greatest game in town. Meiosis and sexual reproduction has accelerated evolution, which may not have been such a good thing, we were probably better off in the trees, but that’s how it is. The Good Lord put two of every animal on Noah’s ark. The ark, by the way used port and starboard, fore and aft, and also used a lot of mops and pails.
So many things come in pairs. How many can you think of? Personally, I can think of franks and beans, corned beef and cabbage, wine and roses, and burgers and fries. Not to mention peanut butter and jelly. In baseball 2nd base is right there in the middle, and a double is a very good hit.
As for the two in our language, there are just too many twos to mention. And please, don’t mention the ballerina’s tutu.
Before we get sentimental about the two, let’s remember that to “speak with a forked tongue” is not a cool thing. Neither are “snake eyes”, second-in-command, or Bi-Polar disorder. To quote Joe E. Brown at the end of Some Like It Hot, “Well, nobody’s perfect”. Neither is the two. It is also incumbent upon me to remind you that “number two” is the well-known toilet euphemism for, well …I won’t waste any more of your time. Except to remind you that 2 is the atomic number of helium, and that Hank Williams said “If you loved me half as much as I love you, you wouldn’t worry me half as much as you do….”Click to twice to hear