Our house is number 13 in our street. 13 – the so-called ‘unlucky’ number. It’s never caused me a moment’s thought. You know why? It’s because I’m not fucking stupid, and you have to be fucking stupid to be afraid of a number. It’s nothing to do with being old-fashioned or folksy. It’s not about sensitivity or world-view. It’s about ability to process information and draw reasonable conclusions. I bring this up now because Ireland’s Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, announced today that there will be a change to vehicle registration plates in 2013. For those who don’t know, Irish plates take the format ‘Year–County of registration–Number of registration’. So the eight hundred and fifty-third car registered in County Sligo in 2013 should have a plate saying ’13–SO–853′. But it won’t. Under pressure from the motor industry, Noonan has decreed that cars registered in the first half of the year will have plates saying 131 instead of 13. Cars registered in the second half will have 132. No-one will have to have an unlucky number on their car.
‘Psychics’ on TV. A call to prayer before the evening news. Avoiding unlucky numbers. Giving billions to banks that don’t exist. You can draw a straight line.