Divided By One

Story Sent in by Alicia:

Not long after we sat down to dinner on our very first date, Barry slid an index card across the table to me. I flipped it over, and printed in black ink was the number 312.

Thinking it was some sort of game, I asked him, "What does this mean? What are the rules?"

He shook his head and handed me another card, one with the number 200. I said, "I don't know what this means."

He sighed, but not in a teasing sort of way. He seemed genuinely exasperated. He handed me another card, this one with the number 166. At that point, I put all cards in front of me and tried to catch a pattern, but aside from each of the numbers being even, I couldn't figure out anything else about them.

Ultimately, I shrugged, thinking that he'd slide me another card that perhaps would make things a bit clearer. Instead, he grabbed the cards and said, "I should give you a board book instead. Here." He pulled out one of those See Spot Run board books.

I said, "I'm not illiterate, just–"

"You just suck ass at numbers."

I laughed and said, "Okay. So how was your day?"

"I'd rather think of what else you suck, other than ass. Can you help me figure it out?"

I stopped laughing. He was mad. What had I done? If anything, I ought to be the one losing patience. I said, "Would you rather not be here, Barry? We can call it an evening if you don't really want to be here with me, because you obviously–"

He shot his hand across the table and made to grab my arm, but I moved back and he couldn't reach. He sat back and said, "Come on, I didn't mean it. You didn't even try with the numbers, and that bothered me more than anything else."

I said, "I'd rather talk about you. About us. Can we play the numbers game later?"

He said, "We play it now or I make you suck my ass all night. Hard to talk about us when your mouth is full of ass, isn't it?"

I agreed. "You're right. Have a good night."

I stood and left, but he followed me out to the sidewalk, brandishing a stack of index cards in his hand. He said, "Don't be like this. You can pick out any number you want. I'll let you take one. Go ahead." He held the cards out to me.

I didn't bite. "Barry, forget about it. Seriously, have a good night and go away."

As I walked off, he shouted, "I'll take one out for you. You don't even have to do it yourself! There! I pulled out 90! Do you know what that means? Do you? Do you?"

As far as I was concerned, it meant that he would have a lonely, lonely night.


  1. You don't know what it means? I spotted the pattern quite easily. Barry likes to think he's smarter than other people (to the point that it's part of his identity), so he makes up unfair games to "test their knowledge." When people ask him why he's single, he says he doesn't want to date until he meets a girl who's his "intellectual equal." Eventually he'll meet a girl with low self-esteem who feeds his ego and they'll get along perfectly until the horrible divorce.

    1. Don't you know? The pattern is ridiculously easy to spot once you establish common elements to figure out what you're looking for. It means he's a douche. That's the one trait that every card had in common - all of them were being handed out by a total douchebag.

    2. I actually think this guy has OCD, and it wasn't necessarily a "pattern" he was trying to communicate, but rather that each number has a different "meaning." Kind of like Tarot cards or something. This is further reinforced by when he says "do you know what 90 means??"

  2. And that's Numberwang!

  3. Kizyr beat me to the Numberwang reference!

    I don't think there was anything to 'get' about his game. I mean, he brought a board book on a date, so he clearly knew OP would lose.

    I think it woukd have been fun to come up with arbitrary rules and then accuse him of sucking at his own game. "312? That's a Millard Fillmore for sure, but shouldn't it have been written in purple? You're pretty new at this."


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