The other night I dragged my vexingly sore lower limbs past a branch of Fifth Third Bank. While to runners this institution is known as the title sponsor of a 25K in Grand Rapids, Michigan that has served as a U.S. road championship on numerous occasions and will do so again next month, the name of the bank itself invites a sincere question: Why not just call it Seventh Bank? After all, if the first Third Bank is simply known as Third Bank, then the Second Third Bank would be the Fourth, and so on. With this kind of terminology, one would be led to suspect that the banking industry is home to a great many people who are fond of playing intricate games with numbers. Someone should inform the White House of this.
This also had me thinking, again, of why there are so many churches out there claiming to be the first one. First Church of Christ, First Congregational, First Presbyterian, First Reformed Demonic Holy Baby-Devouring House of Heroic Horseshit. Really, this is just shameless cheating. It’s almost as if there are various denominations and sects all claiming the same thing when only one of them can be right, and since this is a logical contradiction, it just doesn’t befit something as pure and revered the world over as organized religion.
My latest rule of thumb is thus, when institutions of any sort are openly obsessed with ordinal numerology, they are not to be trusted. You heard it here fifty-eighth.