My day job is that I'm a reporter for the Sandusky Register newspaper. Yesterday, May 22, I interviewed a lady in Sandusky named Mary Perry. The trigger for the story was that the next day, May 23, would be the 20th anniversary of her heart transplant.
Well, she had to have it sometime.
But when I was sitting in her living room, she suddenly remarked, "23 is kind of a good number for me and a bad number for me." Then she told me about all the events in her life connected with 23: The birth of her mother, the birth of her son, the death of her son and other events. I asked her if she'd ever heard of the 23 Enigma, and she said no.
Today, as I drove to work, I listened to a podcast of "This American Life." The specific podcast was "No Coincidence, No Story." It did not occur to me I was listening to the broadcast on the 23rd day of the fifth month. I have a backlog of "This American Life" podcasts on my smartphone, and I have been listening to them every day, clearing away the backlog and freeing up space for a library audiobook I want to download soon.
It's a great episode of my favorite podcast, filled with crazy coincidences, but what I wanted to mention was this: The show's guest narrator, Sarah Koenig (filling in for Ira Glass) mentions a family that was at a Thanksgiving dinner and realized that six of them have names with 23 letters. Later on, referring to another story, Koenig says, "Coming up, don't lift that manhole cover. That's 23 letters, by the way."
Elsewhere in the podcast, Koenig explains the title of the show, which comes from a Chinese phrase from a friend of hers. The Chinese phrase has five words, as Koenig explains when she tells one of the people she is interviewing: "I have five words for you, Jeff." So the title of the show on coincidences conforms to the Law of Fives.
When I came to work, my phone was flashing, so the first thing I did was check my voicemails. The second message came from Mary Perry's daughter. Transcript: "It was just kind of a weird thing. Me and my mom were talking tonight and we remembered that there was also another lady waiting for a heart transplant that had the exact same name as my Mom except for her middle name was different. Her middle name was Louise. It was Mary Louise Perry. And she died one or two nights before Mom got her heart. And she was also Dr. Bott-Silverman's patient. It was just a weird thing that she had the exact same name except for her middle name. "