The number disease has spread.

If you’re one of my three (or is it two?) regular readers, you might recall that the 9s of Uruguay bother me. And if you look at this one, you can see that obviously the writer was taught to make a nine starting with a counterclockwise loop, which then rejoins itself and veers off at an angle to look like a 9. Unless it doesn’t, in which case it ends up as a P.


But what’s up with that first digit — ?


It’s a 4. It just happens to be upside down.

How the hell did someone learn, or decide, to write a 4 upside-down? Also, if you clicked on the link above, you might note that the 3 here is verging into the territory of the 2 on the linked page.

Uruguay is not an exotic country, but does hold some mystery. If you’re willing to squint just right, with your bad eye.

9 Replies to “The number disease has spread.”

  1. You better be counting ME as one of your regular readers. I love your posts. It sounds so exotic down there compared to my humdrum life in Columbus. But alas, I head out Saturday with 23 kids for a week in Virginia and on July 6 go out with 19 more to New England.

    1. For the benefit of other readers (there are more than 3 😉 ) check out Mark’s site: Any time I want my mind to be boggled, I think about him landing in Europe in high season with a bunch of kids and exactly one night’s lodging planned. He makes up for the humdrum ….

    1. Thanks Patti! Miami sounds pretty nice right now. It’s frosty in the mornings, woodstove going most of the day here, and our (typical, single-brick) house is built for neither winter nor summer. Good news is that as of today, the days start getting longer again.

  2. I guess I am a regular reader too, but have been absent for a long time as I did not realize the site had been changed. Last posting I saw was something about not wanting to go to Brazil. That was a long time ago. I suppose on this new site I will actually be identified by name. Sigh! There was some mystery in being Anonymous. As to the numbers of Uruguay, I have been a keen observer ever since your first posting so long ago about the 9s. I have found many atrocious renderings. In fact, I think there are more people in the country incapable of making a 9 than there are people capable of writing one that could be recognized. The upside down 4 is a first. Some attempts to write 1 are also amusing. I think this topic should be expanded. If we send some examples to you, it can become a regular feature.

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