I'm LXI years old, V-foot-IX, the father of II, drive an MMV Nissan Sentra and my Social Security number is ...
Well, that's none of your business. Not that I couldn't spell it out for you in Roman numerals. After all, I was one of only two students in Sister Peter Marie's third-grade class who got a C in our Roman numerals test. Of course, a C in a Roman numerals test is a good thing. It means I got 100.
I tried to convince my parents that all the other Cs I got in tests were 100s, too, but they didn't buy it.
You gotta love those ancient Romans. They liked to keep things simple. They picked out a few capital letters (I, V, X, L, C, D and M), assigned numbers to them (1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, 1,000), threw in a few rules about subtraction and addition to make it interesting, and they were happy.
After all, they never had to worry about gigabytes or googolplexes or a $16 trillion national debt or even taking a chance on winning $274 million in the lottery. Nope, all they had to worry about was being No. I in a flat world.
Personally, I liked the Romans' numeric system better. It would have made for some classy conversations.
I can just see Augustus and Cornelius sitting at a Roman sports bar, sipping a couple of Classic Cokes. "Can you, believe that Yadierus Molinus? He's got his average up to CCCXV. He's unbelievable."
Augustus gives Cornelius a high V.
"And how about that babe, Bo Derekius? She's a X if I've ever seen one."
"You bet. How can she miss with that XXXVIII-XXIV-XXXVI figure? Va-va-va-voomulus."
You'll have to forgive me. I've been thinking a lot about Roman numerals lately because of all the hoopla surrounding today's Super Bowl XLVII. Sounds much more important and exciting than Super Bowl 47. In case you're wondering, I have the XLIX'ers by XXXIV to XVII over the Ravens.
We Roman Catholics are very fond of the Roman system. Just ask Pope Benedict XVI.
The name Cardinal Ratzinger chose when he was elected pope kept the tradition alive. Besides, it inspires much more respect than Benedict 16. Or, heaven forbid, the more modern version, Ben 16.
Of course, if we ever went to use Roman numerals as our mainstream number system, we'd have to change a lot of things:
For example, we could see Sylvester Stallone get the snot knocked out of him in Rocky II, III, IV, V, VI, VII ... ad infinitum.
We'd have to remember our hero, Stan Musial, as No. VI.
And if all the X's live in Texas, like George Strait says, well, that's where all the guys will be headed.
We'll have to come up with a whole new system for rating movies, too. Instead of rating it XXX, we'll just rate that movie "very, very, very bad."
Algebra would have to be scrapped, since X couldn't stand for just any old number anymore. The proverbial train leaving Philadelphia at X miles an hour would take forever to get to San Francisco.
X could no longer mark the spot where pirates bury their treasure. Tic-tac-toe would have to go to 10s and 0's. And you'd have to stop signing your love letters "Love and XXXXXXXXXXX's, Snuccums."
Campbell's soup could no longer be MMMMM-good and M&Ms just wouldn't add up.
Hospitals would have to rename X-rays and IVs to avoid confusion.
T-shirts could no longer come in XL or XXL. Although, a waist size of XLII somehow sounds slimmer than 42; and a XXXVIII-caliber revolver doesn't sound nearly as dangerous as a .38.
By the way, that other kid who aced our III-grade Roman numerals test? I think the name he put on his test was Markus Voegeleus IV.
I should have seen it coming.