by Marie Rennard
(Swans - December 29, 2008 - January 1, 2009) Although numbers are all neutral when it comes to reckoning, some undoubtedly have a more fatal effect on human destinies than others.
Take 9 and 13. Since the massive extinction of dinosaurs in 65,000,009 BC they have always proved to tap the most abysmal catastrophes.
On behalf of Swans (and you, dear readers) I have gone through an exhaustive analysis of the world's history since antiquity and checked all the years that cast the harshest ruins on human beings, most of them ending with 9, which allowed me to venture a few statistical predictions for the coming year.
Most pest epidemics started on years ending with nine, killing millions of anonymous victims, but also the greatest thinkers -- saving, to perfect its terrible effects, the most ineffective ones. Pericles, Herodotus, Nicomedes, and Zenodorus died; Gallen alone escaped the disease. Another sanitary catastrophe that found its apogee in a year ending with nine was the Spanish flu epidemic of 1919 that killed 25 million people. A rigorous analysis of the dates of these epidemics and of their frequency has led me to conclude that 2009 might be -- nothing ever being absolutely sure with statistics -- the year of the SARS we have unsuccessfully feared so far.
This is the only worldwide prediction I have managed to reckon. The following ones will be more specific.
Concerning the U.K., where up to now twelve kings have died in years ending with nine, I fear for the sake of Her Majesty Elizabeth who is entering her 83rd year, and would not be surprised if she happened to be the 13th victim of this monarchic hecatomb.
In the United States, 9.3% of American presidents have been so far assassinated. If the 44th is killed, the percentage will reach a tremendous 9.090909. I hence advise Mr. Obama to keep an eye on his back, prudence being the mother of safety.
I went on with a reckoning of the percentage of French presidents killed since the beginning of the many republics we French are so endeared with (5 and counting to number 9), and discovered that France ranks slightly behind America with 8.69 %. Another victim would raise this percentage to a dreadful 13, and cause the irreparable loss of Our Leader of the World, Jr.
All the same, 8.8% of Japanese emperors died in years ending with nine, and Emperor Akihito, if not as old as Elizabeth of England, is likely to face some health problems in 2009.
Since I am paying special attention in these predictions to the Powerful of the World, I also have to mention that over the last three centuries, 28% of Catholic popes died in years ending with nine. This is the highest rate ever noted among the victims of lifelong charges. The only rational explanation I managed to find to this unusual distortion is the deliberate will of God to defy the statistic. However, I have come to the conclusion that it would be more profitable to Him (or Her) to let the popes live like 120 years. The advertising impact would become much higher.
Finally, I have noticed that Samuel Beckett, Boris Vian, Raymond Chandler, Pierre de Beaumarchais, Jack Kerouac, Alphonse de Lamartine, and Edgar Poe all died on years ending with nine -- we're still mourning them, and that the only historically-positive event that ever happened in one of those years is the first diffusion, on the American TV, of the Simpsons -- in December 1989.
I, once again on behalf of the Swans' crew, nevertheless wish you a happy 2009, hoping you (and we all) are still around in 2010.
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