I grew up on Saturday Morning Cartoons, and learned a lot from Schoolhouse Rocky and friends. In between the Super Friends and Krofft Superstars I could learn how a bill must struggle to become a law or how the Lolly‘s had everything you needed in an Adverb Store. But the one that really struck me as some kind of HIDDEN knowledge was “3 is a Magic Number”.
Maybe it’s the first line of that first verse,
“Somewhere in the ancient, mystic trinity You get three as a magic number.”
It’s a little haunting. Religion and myth wrapped up in a number. And as the song will tell you the number three’s importance is everywhere:
“The past and the present and the future,
Faith and hope and charity,
The heart and the brain and the body
Give you three.
That’s a magic number.
It takes three legs to make a tri-pod or to make a table stand.
It takes three wheels to make a called ve-hicle a tricycle.
Every triangle has three corners,
Every triangle has three sides,
No more, no less.
You don’t have to guess.
When it’s three you can see it’s a magic number.”
Magic indeed, for I saw 3’s my whole life. Third planet from the sun, a pretty important one, people were always saying, “things happen in threes” and “third times a charm”. There was “The Three Musketeers and “Threes Company“. There were supposed omens and warnings, “Never light 3 to a match” “three sixes” and “famous people always die in threes” 3 was everywhere I looked: “the three wise men” “The 3 bears” “the 3 little pigs” “the three main galaxy morphological classifications: Ellipticals, Spirals and Lenticulars” I could go on and on.
Numbers are a big part of life… and deeply rooted in some of it’s biggest mysteries. Everything’s ones and zeros, right? But 3, that magic number, haunted me! Why was it every where?
Well as I mentioned before, the first Author to really catch me and make me set out to read everything they have ever wrote was Douglas Adams. The only problem with that was even now, after his death, there isn’t a ton of stuff written by him. And back then, there was even less. So after I had read his “Hitchhiker Trilogy” (another three in my life) I looked for someone else to latch on to. So I leaped out of Sci-fi, which I had mainly been reading at the time, to horror and into the hands of gay horror writer/director Clive Barker.
I learned about the Art, and how we are all books waiting to be opened. But it wasn’t till I read Imajica did I finally come to accept that 3 truly was a magic number.
“It was the pivotal teaching of Pluthero Quexos, the most celebrated dramatist of the Second Dominion, that in any fiction, no matter how ambitious its scope or profound its theme, there was only ever room for three players. Between warring kings, a peacemaker; between adoring spouses, a seducer or a child. Between twins, the spirit of the womb. Between lovers, Death. Greater numbers might drift through the drama, of course — thousands in fact — but they could only ever be phantoms, agents, or, on rare occasions, reflections of the three real and self-willed beings who stood at the center. And even this essential trio would not remain intact; or so he taught. It would steadily diminish as the story unfolded, three becoming two, two becoming one, until the stage was left deserted.” – Clive Barker, Imajica.
This opening paragraph helped me to see just how important 3 was, and why I saw it everywhere. It is everywhere. And it was important to life’s story.
So let’s end this off in a neat little trilogy. And I believe the last line in the Schoolhouse Rock ditty about this magical number will help us get back to the start so to speak:
“A man and a woman had a little baby. Yes, they did. They had three in the family. That’s a magic number.”
Three is important, because it is the Number of Creation.