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The story of how 37 became an anchor number in my life is short and only slightly surprising. It is, however, appropriate today, July 1, 2009.

I had a few friends in college who were mostly crazy. They had a bit of an obsession with the number 37. The moment I found this out, I was determined not to care a lick about it. My stubbornness contributed about 96 percent to this decision. I played like 37 was white noise to me for weeks, but was alarmed at increasing intervals of the number without warning. I kept its visits hush-hush, much like my brand new, and reluctant, affinity for The Office.

I slept through most of my classes freshman year in college. Sometimes woke up for tests, most of the time, talked my way into one-time allowances of grace with my big mouth. After a few weeks of this, I realized that I could talk my way out of just about anything. So I quit setting my alarm all-together. Two days in a row — I remember because one was my organic chemistry final — I woke up to no loud noise or rousing roommate, but stared at 11:37am on my clock. One day after the next. Two days isn’t a lot. Three is what makes things certain, but I was spooked because all I ever heard about it how that number shows up everywhere. And it was starting to penetrate my ignorant front.

The alarm-less clock was only the beginning. It was the number of a campus room number when our Spotlight meeting was moved. It was twice in the phone number of a girl I’d met at Campus Ministry. It was Brandon Lyon’s number of the Detroit Tigers and I knew someone who was his sister’s boyfriend, or something. I even saw it etched into a tree trunk on a run with the soccer team. Too weird.

Late in the academic year, I gave in to the number 37. I quit pretending I didn’t notice the coincidences, and even ordered soccer jerseys with my new 37 number for the club season. I guess I kind of retired 14 with competitive soccer, anyway. I shared with unsuspecting friends and acquaintances about how 37 shows up everywhere. They started out as skeptics like me, but soon I received photographs with them pointing to the 37 million jackpot on the lottery sign.

It’s much like the hoax of celebrity death trio’s, but harmless. You can find almost anything if you keep your eyes wide for long enough. I quit looking years ago, but a 37 surprise always elicits a chuckle from me. Yesterday I passed exit 137 on my way to the tattoo parlor. A new trip that was added to my brochure project suggested raising $3,700 in support. And I can’t wait to get back to the page 37 that I dog-eared in my new novel. Now that you know about 37’s agenda, you’ll notice it just about everywhere. Especially if today is 37 years from the day you were born, because you’ll be under the spell until at least this day next summer.