Welcome to June, the sixth month. And Bumbastories is again obliged, nay compelled, to celebrate the number six, the “perfect number” six.
The six has long been regarded as “perfect”. Its factors: 3, 2, and 1, when summed, add up to 6. The world was created in six days according to the Bible. There are six colors in the color wheel and six strings on a guitar. Six is the atomic number of carbon, the basis of life on earth – unless, of course, you’re “six feet under”. There’s the six-shooter, the six-pack, six degrees of separation, The Moon and Sixpence, and the Six Flags Amusement park. You can get your kicks on Rte 66 and gas up at Phillips 66. And there’s always a light on for you at Motel 6.
Six was the uniform number for the great Bill Russell, arguably the greatest basketball player ever, also Dr. Julius Erving, arguably the most exciting. Baseball’s Al Kaline of the Detroit Tigers, and Stan the Man Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals wore the number six. The best reserve player on a five-person basketball team is called the sixth man. The Clippers’ Jamal Crawford won the “Sixth Man of the Year Award” three times (that’s half of six). The Clippers’ Lou Williams also won it three times. We at Bumbastories still love Jamal and also sweet Lou. And we love the six. Someone complained to me the other day. They said to me: “For goodness sakes, Bumba. Six, Six, Six! That’s all you ever talk about! What are you, some kind of six maniac? …
The six sided figure is the hexagon, a favorite shape for bees and people alike. Bees also like fives and anything symmetrical, but most any bee will wax (sorry) nostalgic and tell you that hexagons are wonderfully stable shapes, and make a honey (not sorry anymore) of an apartment complex.
Escher, inspired by the tesselations at the Alhambra palace in Grenada, often used hexagons to plot his magnificent drawings.
The radius of a circle circumscribes exactly six times in a circle! Try it: take a compass, draw a circle, and then start marking off lengths of that radius along the circumference. It fits exactly six times! Why this should be so is a great mystery. Or is it just a “coincidence”?Mathematics has a number of these fortuitous sorts of”coincidences”.
And, as Yogi Berra said: “There’s too many coincidences for it to be a coincidence.”
Anyhow, it’s no coincidence that we like the six so much.
Happy sixth month of the year,