The Power of Zero

For a number that results in nothing when multiplied by another number, and is often skipped in the counting sequence, zero wields more power than many realize.  Of course, we recognize the power of zero when they are printed on greenbacks… if given a choice between a $10 bill and a $100 bill, Ben will win every time.  Sorry, Hamilton.  (That must sting, being the first Secretary of Treasury and all.)

The number zero has highlighted a difference in thinking between my husband and me.  The Mars/Venus thing has been done to death, but I’m not going for the gender difference angle here.  This is personal(ity).

Some things around my house drive me absolutely nuts.  Like the cup rings on my wooden dining table.  Despite the 7 coasters scattered around (2 of which the kids broke and Scotch-tape repaired, as if I wouldn’t notice), cups still end up on the table- sans coaster.  This launches me into the “Why can’t I have anything nice?” tirade, which garners dazed stares, much like what I imagine seeing after a zombie apocalypse.

Kids' handiwork.  To them, they are "fixed"!
Kids’ handiwork. What cracks?

As I walked by the kids’ bathroom this morning, I noticed the broken towel rack (for the 59th time.)  It’s been broken for two months, since my eight-year-old decided to use it as a pull-up bar.  My husband couldn’t figure out how to get the anchor out of the wall, so he tossed the bar in the closet and closed the door.  Fixed.  Now, I wasn’t born yesterday.  I know very well he could get the anchor out of the wall- if he wanted to.

What's left of the towel rack...
What’s left of the towel rack…
The missing, er, hidden link!
The missing, er, hidden link!  (Out of sight, out of his mind.)

Last week, I found out what does crawl under his skin:  when zero goes missing.  Specifically, the loose zero on our TV remote control.  He loves his TV and the fact he can’t click directly to channel 10 is driving him batty.  He didn’t notice my amused smile  as he stuck his hand between every couch cushion (I wouldn’t advise doing that,) felt underneath the couch (I really recommend avoiding that,) and practically lifted the couch up with me sitting on it to locate the zero.

Zero, where are you?  I'm lost without you!
Zero, where art thou? I’m lost without you!

He’s done this for four nights now, and he’s still zero-less.

Me?  I’m not bothered at all.  I don’t watch TV much, but if I want channel ten, I press the one twice and channel down once.  I type a lot so my fingers aren’t taxed by the extra button press.

You might wonder why he doesn’t just buy a new remote.  Good question.  Obsessions are rarely rational.  I would suggest it, but frankly, I find the nightly ritual too entertaining.

I have to admit, zero has given me new appreciation of our quirks and differences.  Knowing he has a button that can be pushed (not zero 🙂 ) makes me feel more normal in the things I fixate on.  We may not have a zero to press or a rack to hang a towel on, but at least we can hold hands and commiserate over the common thread of the things that drive us to distraction.

Ah, the uniting power of zero.


If this passes through moderation, I plan to link up with Yeah Write #147.  I haven’t linked there in a while so I thought I’d give it a go! At 513 words, this post comes in under the 600 word limit.

Thanks so much for reading.  Have a beautiful day!