Posted tagged ‘Lord Nelson’

Admiral Birthday

June 1, 2010

One of the great cricket spectacles has caused me angst. The late cricket umpire, David Shepherd, would raise one leg whenever a batting team or individual player was on the score 111 or multiples thereof. He performed this ritual as he considered it bad luck to be stuck on a “Nelson”. The Nelson 111 pertains to Lord Nelson who lost an eye, an arm and a leg. However, Horatio Nelson had both legs intact. Seemingly Chinese whispers had invented the legless myth.

When I heard of Mr. Shepherd’s superstition (and saw it a few times) I started to believe that the “Nelson” was an indication of doom. The only way I come across Nelsons is when I read a book. Therefore I never bookmark on pages 111, 222,333 etc: (for the record, I also never stand with one foot raised while on these pages). Going the full Nelson I also refuse to stop reading on pages 11, 22, 33 and so on and so forth. Even if a chapter ends on say, page 155, I will read one more page.

Previously I had only looked on the pages 67, 167, 267 …as bad omens and hastily scan these abominations. Nineteen sixty seven was, of course, the year of the fluke. I have never ever read a book of 2,000 or so pages length and I dare say if I did, the page 1,967 would be ripped from the spine, quartered and burned. My moral outrage would bring about a new bonfire of the vanities.

These days I try and steer clear of any new numbered portents as I’m running out of good karma pages and will soon have to read a book all the way through. Worsening my odds of stopping on a positive page, an esteemed colleague remarked that, you should never stop reading a book on an even numbered page. His reasoning is that even numbered pages are on the left side and the left hand is connected with the Devil. Soon I will be selling all my book markers on E-Bay.

My paranoia is getting worse as the countdown ticks closer to doomsday. I am referring to the book of life. This November will be a “Nelson” birthday for me, my first since finding out about the David Shepherd rite. A whole year of gloom is forecast. Luckily, the year 2011 of our Lord is not a leap year so there’s not an extra day to worry about.