Three cheers for 3

March 18, 2013 

So here it is, 3-13-13. That’s a lot of threes. Three threes, to be exact, “Three frolicking, flowing threes.” Try saying that three times fast.

Three’s an odd number. Literally. And oddly enough, when I looked up “three” in the dictionary, it had three meanings.

I’m not a fan of the number three. I never pencil it in as one of my picks for the Pick 3 Lottery. I’m often confused by the three-day sales that boast “3 for $5” and “4 for $3.” And so far, I’ve never lived in a house with a number three in the address.

But despite my opinion of the number three, it’s fashionable. Designers prefer to arrange objects in groups of three. Writers use the “rule of three.” And every good story has three parts, a beginning, middle and an end.

That holds true in The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and for the most part, every episode of the Three Stooges. Nyuk. Nyuk. Nyuk. Talk about a three-ring circus.

Three is the smallest number of elements that can be used to create a pattern. Humans like patterns. We learn our ABC’s, our Do, Re, Mi’s and our 1, 2, 3s. And things in threes are said to be memorable.

We remember the three wisemen, the three shepherds and the three musketeers. We might not remember their names but we know there were three. And like us, they each had exactly three bones in each finger, three bones in each toe and three bones in each ear.

Some people believe that things happen in threes, both good and bad. The three blind mice could definitely attest to the bad part, as could the three little kittens that lost their mittens.

Maybe if they had thrown three coins in a fountain or wished on one of the three stars in Orion’s Belt, things would have turned out different. More like they did for Dorothy when she clicked the heels of those ruby slippers three times and wound up where she longed to be…home.

Three cheers for “three.” It’s growing on me. After all, I’m from a city where three rivers meet. And three, nearly identical suspension bridges, known as the Three Sisters, span across the Allegheny.

So, three you have it. Okay, you might want to read that last sentence again. I know. It’s silly. But I just couldn’t resist.

Karen Tomas is a resident of Fort Mill. E-mail her at

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