Anytime I hear the word "Eighteen" with other numbers following I immediately think of Grandpa Slump, who, of course, was born in 1897.
I went over that a little bit on Jan. 24, which was his birthday. I heard the number today -- how much something cost -- and it was $18.31 -- leading me to say, "At least it wasn't $18.97."
How can one man's birth year stick so close to my ribs? There must have been other things that happened in the entire year of 1897. I'm sure of it. Leading me to do a little study...
It turns out -- and this is a great coincidence -- that Moe Howard was born in 1897 too! The fact that Grandpa was such a great fan of The Three Stooges suddenly makes more sense. Moe and Grandpa were babies together! Getting their diapers changed at the same time. I saw a Three Stooges movie the other day, "Idiots Deluxe," the one where Moe is mad at the other Stooges because of all the grief they caused him when he was sick and not wanting any noise, and they're in court to try the case. The judge asks Moe, "Were you ever indicted?" And Moe gets all baby faced and says, "Not since I was a baby, your honor." Moe thinks he meant "in diapers!" Well, that's exactly what he was in when he and Grandpa Slump were babies!
There's dear Moe, one of my (and Grandpa's) biggest heroes, also born in 1897. What do you know about that! It was a very good year.
Then there was also death in 1897. Including my most favorite saint of all times, St. Teresa of Lisieux, the Little Flower. She died mid-year in 1897. I've been batting it around mentally, so if this is some kind of heresy, please forgive me. But what if? -- and I know the dates don't jibe at all -- but there might be some kind of delay for saints and their souls -- what if Grandpa, born in January 1897 were actually the reincarnation of St. Teresa, who died at the end of September? Since saints might have enough soul for two bodies, and since she was already deathly sick in 1896, part of her soul might have taken up residence in the fetus that was to become my Grandpa Slump, then mid-year, coincidentally about the time that Moe Howard was being born (not really part of this theory), when the rest of her soul left her body in Lisieux, it might have migrated to the United States and filled out the remaining soul presence for Grandpa.
Going by this theory, Grandpa's soul would have come to him in a two-part bestowal, giving him the soul of a saint. That might also explain why he was such an unsaintly character through his life, because St. Teresa lived out all her goodness in that one existence and needed for that reason to live out her shadow side in her next incarnation. But it's just a theory, and, alas, I don't know any other way to prove it. My actual opinion on the subject is that it's not likely and, really, no doubt false. But it's a lark to think about. The idea that I grew up with St. Teresa and didn't know it. That'd be cool. I don't really believe in reincarnation, but if there were such a thing it'd be far more likely, statistically, that everyone would be reincarnated as average people, there not being enough famous people to go around.
If we were going to get technical, it'd be more likely that Moe was her reincarnation. Since he was born June 19 and Teresa died at the end of September, he's closer to her date than Grandpa. You still have a few soul gymnastics -- and I think the saintly soul theory is as good as any -- to give Moe part of her soul in June, then to receive the rest upon her demise in September. You tell me it's impossible! But I say it is, and Moe acts out the shadow side part of my theory probably even better than Grandpa.
1897, what a year!