ROUND TABLE: Taking joy in number five, one day at a time

Look out, lucky 7: Our friend 5 is in town.

Five seems suddenly cool. That’s the impression I got from a recent article, five paragraphs long, in the Oregonian newspaper on the wonders of the number 5.

“Five is memorable: five fingers on a hand, five toes on a foot. Human beings have five senses.”

The article goes on, referencing Jesus’ five wounds, five pillars of Islam, five books in the Jewish Torah, Buddhists’ five essential tenets and Hindus’ five elements

I’d never thought of it in universally-spiritual terms before. Someone had recently asked me if I had a lucky, or favorite, number, as many people do. My son Connal favors 22, and my friend Sam finds fortune in 4. Earlier this summer, upon turning 55, it occurred to me that 5 is my favorite number. Not sure about lucky — heaven knows I have enough superstitions.

But my birthday is June 5 and Lorre’s is Dec. 5, which I always took to be a charm. Further evidence: basketball is my favorite game, and the best game in the world (and the only purely American invention besides jazz) and the number of players on a basketball team is five.

One of my favorite New Yorker cartoons shows a guy sitting at the counter of a diner called “5 Brothers Café,” scowling toward the other end of the counter where the only other customer is being waited on — by all 5 Brothers. One of the quintet looks over and says, “You can just wait your turn!”

I would add a few other fave fives:

n “Take Five,” on Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Time Out” is The Coolest Jazz Number ever written.

n Beethoven’s Fifth is the quintessential classical piece: one of those rare pieces whose first four bars — “duh-duh-duh-dummm” — are universally recognizable.

n “It’s always 5 o’clock somewhere.”

Five are the numbers of digits on each of our hands, and I am grateful for each one and how they allow me to do my work of writing at the keyboard and taking photos. Simple pleasures are the best.

And, there are five days in the work week, and so five is the number of vacation days I got last week. It was a case of Time Out and take five, indeed.

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