10-10-10: This Day Comes Every 100 Years
Supposedly it happens only 12 times every 1,000 years, and I’m not talking about another Grateful Dead farewell tour or Mitt Romney deciding to run for president. Today is Oct. 10, 2010 — or, as they say in the numerology biz, “10-10-10.”
I haven’t a clue about the meaning of numbers. I can barely remember my bank PIN. But apparently the 10th day of the 10th month of the 10th year of the century is such a rare cosmic occurrence and positive mystical number that more than 31,000 couples plan to get hitched today — twice the normal number for any other day of the month, and 10 times as many for a “normal” Sunday — in the United Kingdom.
Registry offices, churches and banquet halls have been booked up for months. At the Full Moon Pub in Nottinghamshire, seven couples plan to take their vows “Las Vegas-style” at half-hour intervals, toasting as they go, presumably meaning that the last couple to get hitched probably won’t remember a thing about it.
In Singapore, a record 774 couples are planning to marry, compared to 70 on an ordinary Sunday.
That’s a lot of rice and Singapore Slings, too. Chinese wedding planners are hailing the date as “important” and “magical,” asserting ancient mystical connections between the numbers “1” and “0,” a harmonious blending of numbers that symbolize a “beginning” and an “end,” thus a perfect number for good luck.
Or as the Chinese filmmaker Chi Yee Wei told London’s Daily Mail: “The Chinese believe the number 10 represents completion, perfection and beauty.” Hopefully she’s not marrying a guy named Pee Wee.
To get a better understanding of how the harmonious impact of a mystical and magical 10-10-10 might insinuate itself locally into the social fabric of the Sandhills, your crack reporter on the ground took a broad sampling of potentially impacted firms late Friday afternoon, beginning with a phone call to the China Garden Super Buffet on U.S. 15-501.
“Hello,” we began. “Given the magic and importance of Sunday’s date as an important Chinese symbol of completion, perfection and beauty, we just wondered if perhaps you might be doing something special to mark this auspicious occasion. It only comes around a dozen times every thousand years.”
“So you want to come in Sunday for lunch?” asked the clerk, seeming a tad confused. “How many in your group, please?”
“No, no,” we explained, “We’re talking about the ancient mystical meaning of the number 10.”
“So I put you down for 10!” she said.
“No, ma’am. You see, 31,000 couples are getting married today in Britain. It’s the 10th day of the 10th month of the 10th year of the new millennium ...”
“You want 31,000 what?”
I wasn’t making the headway I’d hoped for in my quest to ascertain the mystical properties of the number 10 by a factor of three. So I placed an order for a couple of fresh spring rolls to go and rang off.
And I used to think 10-10-10 was just a fertilizer.
01-01-01 Was Different
The quest for 10-10-10 brings to mind the time a decade ago when I happened to visit the wild, wooly and unusually remote coast of the East Cape of New Zealand, venturing to a small Colonial outpost that had been designated as the first place to greet the rising sun of the brand new millennium on 01-01-01.
As a result, the normally quiet settlement had been overrun by aging hippies, tattooed bikers, Apocalypse freaks, surfers, astrologists, vegan sun-worshippers, lost Shriners, end-time fundamentalists, Elvis impersonators, vacationing surgeons, goat herders and assorted checkered news hacks like me. Some wit had painted “01-01-Uh-Oh!” on a billboard heading into town.
On the morning before the Big First Sunrise (aka either the “Start of the New Millennium” or the “End of Time as We Know It,” customer’s choice) I wandered down the beach and came upon a group of 30 or so stark naked men and women who’d painted themselves up with gray-green mud from nearby Rotorura’s famed bubbling springs and marked their faces with blue Maori symbols of rebirth. They were having one heck of a party around a bonfire.
“We’re practicing for tomorrow’s big wedding,” a well-endowed middle-aged lady in a muddy blue birthday suit chimed at me, offering a slug of her New Zealand Chardonnay straight from the bottle.
“No thanks,” I said. “So who is actually getting married?”
It’s always tough, after all, to tell the bride from the groom at a wedding where everyone is naked, drunk and covered with ancient volcanic mud, though some say the best man is always easy to spot.
“Why, all of us, dove!” she declared with a thick Aussie accent. “Drop your drawers, dearie, and join us! We’re having a mass wedding for the new millennium.”
I don’t know what this unsettling episode really has to do with anything except, perhaps, that strange numbers make people do funny things they ordinarily wouldn’t think of doing, and I suppose I secretly hoped today’s 10-10-10 might set off rashes of otherwise perfectly ordinary people doing outrageously zany things — all in the name of matrimonial love — in these otherwise fairly sedate parts.
‘Just Another Sunday’
Thinking where I’d seen such behavior before, I called up the Pine Crest Inn and got my pal, Linda Tufts, on the phone.
“You know,” she said, “Sunday will be just another Sunday around here — kind of quiet but lots of our normal guests and golfers around. On the other hand, though, Amy McKenzie’s sister is getting married up in Baltimore because it’s 10-10-10. She runs the dining room at night.”
If a place as justly world-famous for its partying magic as the Pine Crest wasn’t in danger of being overun by madly marrying 10-10-10 types, what hope was there for the rest of Moore County to be part of an international numbers phenomenon that reportedly wouldn’t show up again until prematurely orange Donald Trump loses all his hair for good sometime around the year 3001?
To make sure I was on solid cosmic footing, I even phoned up PineStraw magazine’ own psychic adviser, Accidental Astrologer Astrid Stellanova.
“This thing ain’t just plain porch gossip, sweetie,” she informed me in no uncertain terms from her kitchen porch out in Windblow. “When the sun dawns on the sacred 10-10-10, why, it’s been said that the Atlantean crystalline portals will open up like a paroled in-law at a free wet-bar, creating a wave of unity and goodwill throughout the hearts of all humanity, even Moore County Republicans.
“Getting hitched on that day, baby cheeks, would be like tying a sheep-shank knot on a pickup full of fresh manure for the garden. I say go do it before she runs off with a trucker who has all his natural teeth!”
A Few Extra Weddings
Whatever this meant, I decided to track down Moore County Registrar of Deeds Judy Martin at the Carthage Courthouse for a more official take on the phenomenon. Not surprisingly, Martin had already heard about the magical effect of 10-10-10.
“Normally we don’t get many Sunday weddings in October,” she explained late Friday afternoon. “But this week we’ve had several phone calls from couples inquiring about a marriage licenses, and four couples that actually took them out. We could have a few last-minute licenses.”
On 7-7-7, she said, there were 18 weddings. But on 6-6-6, there were none — “for obvious reasons.”
In any case, only four measly matrimonials will take place somewhere in Moore County today — the same magical day millions of number-crazy folks across the planet plight their troth and knock down their vows along a nice keg of Guinness at the pub.
Oh, well. Maybe we’re just a little slower here than the rest of the world — cosmically speaking. I think I’ll pick up those spring rolls and put on a Grateful Dead record and find some nice green mud to smear on my face while I think about what I’ll do to celebrate 11-11-11.
Award-winning author Jim Dodson, Sunday essayist with The Pilot and editor of PineStraw magazine, can be reached at email@example.com.
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