Prime numbers bother me. I wouldn’t say my bother with them is full-on OCD. I don’t freak out or hide under the bed. But… when I finished DRUID LORDS, I wasn’t really thrilled that I’d ended up with 23 chapters. (I outlined for 20, but these things happen when you write with flexibility.) I considered breaking two chapters up so I’d have 24 or squishing two together so I’d have 22. In the end, I decided to leave it, because the flow of the book was more important than the fact that the primality of the chapter count niggles at me.
Today, I turn 43. I hadn’t given it a second thought until, after I confessed my consternation with the number 23, a Certain Highlander reminded me that 43 is also a prime number. In an attempt to vex me even further, he pointed out that not only was 43 a prime number, but if you add 4+3, you get 7, another prime number.
I think what bothers me about prime numbers is the mere fact that they can’t be divided. You can’t comfortably be half (or a third or a quarter) way through a book with 23 chapters. You can’t equitably share 11 cupcakes. It feels very all-or-nothing. I strive for balance, but you can’t balance something that won’t be broken down.
In an effort to get past my prime problem, I started thinking of all the positives of primes. Prime time is the best time. A prime cut is the yummiest. A person in their prime has hit their heyday. A pump that is primed flows well. The prime is the paragon, the favourite, the cream of the crop, the zenith. If you want to get all mathy, there are lots of good and geeky reasons to like prime numbers.
I’m not sure it’s working, but I’m determined to anticipate the best for this year, in all its indivisable glory.
As a side note, I decided to consult my friendly neighbourhood search engine to determine whether or not a fear of prime numbers has a name, and sadly, all I could find was the fear of the number thirteen specifically (triskaidekaphobia). On the upside, I saw a list of popular searches on a phobia website, and one such entry was “what is the fear of tea bags called?” Suddenly, I felt better about the entire thing. I might be mildly insane, but at least I’m not afraid of tea bags. Giggle fits will cure much that ails us.