©Skitterphoto, 2016

©Skitterphoto, 2016

2015 is a number rooted in 5 (51) and haunted by 25 (52); my life has likewise been rooted and haunted, and this was the year in which I would either vanquish or succumb to the numerological demons that lurk within the powers of five. First, every day since our wedding on 5/5/90, my wife and I have made tally marks in groups of five in a book, with a page each year. Since 2000, the month plus the day plus the year have equaled the number of our anniversary, so our 25th (5 + 5 + 15, 52) anniversary, was due to come on 5/5/15, a fraught and fateful date as you shall see. 35 years before (20 + 15 = 2015 – 1980 = 1990 – 1955 = lucky 7 x 5), my parents had talked excitedly about their upcoming anniversary (wed 7/25/55 = 5+2/52/two 5’s), which was to be their 25th (52, 5 + 2 = lucky 7), but death denied them that joy, so the number 25 has hung like a sword over my head ever since. My mother (and her father) died on 5/2/80 (5 + 2 = lucky 7, 52 = 25); my father died 5 years later on 2/23/85 (2 + 2 + 3 = lucky 7, 2 + 3 = 52 = 25).

Furthermore, not only had no one in my family ever made it to their 25th anniversary, none had ever reached their 54th birthday; 2015 was the year both were slated to happen in my life. I was 53, hoping to turn 54 in 2015 (5 x 4 = 20, 5 x 3 = 15); the numbers were stacked against me. Five is supposed to symbolize health, love, and marriage (man = 2, woman = 3, 2 + 3 =5), yet five felt like the damning number, the knife that was going to take me out like it had the rest of my family.

The powers of 5 could not be denied; they had to be ascended. In 2015, we went from the 25th to the 26th page of our book on 5/5/15, the 125th (53) day of the year, breaking the curse of 52. My wife turned 53 on 6/25 (50 + 51 / 52); I turned 54 on 5/26 (51 / 52 + 50, 5/26 anagram of 6/25) breaking the curse of 53. Our lives, ever rooted in 5 (51), once fearful of 25 (52), have indeed endured to conjure up the critical +1 (50) to go beyond 53 (to 54) and 25 (to 26) and yet beyond to 125 (53) in 2015 (an anagram of 125).

The number 125 (53) has been used as a low-ball estimate of the number of times my wife and I have made love on average annually, which not coincidentally works out over 25 (52) years to be 3,125 (55, a fistful of fives). Yes; 5 to the second power had threatened to undercut us, but reaching 5 to the fifth power testifies to the monument of love my wife and I have erected atop the still-smouldering ruins of my earlier family tragedies. 2015 implied 5 (51, the book tallies), induced 25 (52, our anniversary), puzzled 125 (53, 53, 2015 anagram), led to 625 (54, wife’s birthday), amassed 3,125 (55). Love has triumphed; the numbers prove it. I was born in ’61, so in ’16 I will turn 55, (two fives, two hands with digits pressed together, in love and in prayer). I cannot shed 5, but I needn’t dread 5; in fact, I have embraced the powers of five.

©Mark Zucker, 2016

Mark Zucker has taught, coached, and created curriculum in OUSD for 24 years. He was a BAWP Summer Fellow in 2011 and has taught the BAWP Summer Digital Writers’ Camp. He lives with his wife Penny, and kids Solomon and Dimitri in Berkeley. He plays music and writes in various genres, and enjoys reading, dancing, nature and being physical. You can access more of his creations at allnightzucker.org

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One Response to “A Fistful of Fives by Mark Zucker”


  1. Love has triumphed! Wonderful journey, from dread to embracing this elegant number, showing numerology, like astrology, can prove or predict anything! Carry on
    !

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