In Grade 3, everyone in my class put an item into a time capsule, which our teacher kept until we were in Grade 8 and ready to move on to the “real world” that was high school.
Fast forward to Grade 8, my third grade teacher walked in the room, and immediately asked me: “Is your favourite food still pizza?”
So many things went through my head before answering. I was wondering how she knew. I was wondering if it was a fat joke. I was wondering why it was so urgent that she got an answer. I was wondering if I should correct her, and say my new favourite food was roast beef because that was more of an adult answer.
I didn’t correct her. I confirmed her suspicion.
“My favourite food is pizza” was one of the few things I wrote on the sheet of paper I put in the time capsule.
At that time, I foolishly thought that pizza was a kiddie food. I thought adults had their own world of food – boring things that smelled funny. I thought admitting that pizza was my favourite food was like admitting that I still watched Barney and picked up a cup with two hands.
13 year old Paul thought he was an adult. Ha, how precious.
Now that I’ve almost doubled my age (holy crap), I realize that anointing pizza as my favourite food has been a personality trait I cannot shake, nor do I want to. If you’ve read my blog for 50 seconds, you’ve probably come across two pizza references.
So it got me thinking, we all have a favourite “something”. Whether it’s a food, movie, TV show, number, colour, place, smell, band, or pair of underwear.
Don’t you dare deny that last one.
How do we decide what our favourite is? For me, I have my rehearsed answers whenever I’m asked.
Favourite movie? Home Alone 1 & 2, and Mrs. Doubtfire.
Favourite colour? Blue.
Favourite food? Pizza.
Favourite smell? It’s a five-way tie between freshly cut grass, BBQ, a new sport jersey, a winter night, and a bakery.
Favourite number? I’m not sure.
Before I address the favourite number dilemma, I want to say some other things, first.
Whenever I reveal what my favourite “something” is, someone will always question it. I’ll name my favourite movie and someone will say, “Really? Out of all the movies?” As if I’m supposed to feel bad for liking the movies I grew up watching.
Or if I say blue is my favourite colour, I’ll sometimes hear: “What shade?”
What do you mean what shade? Do I look like a box of crayons?
Even though I say my favourite colour is blue, there’s never been a moment in my life where I’ve actually sat down and thought, “What is my favourite colour?”
I just say blue because that’s the colour my bedroom was (and still is) as a kid, and that’s the colour my favourite sports teams wore.
There was never a “come to colour moment.” To be honest with you, I really like the colour red. But I’ll never say it as my favourite because I’ve programmed myself to say blue.
I also like chocolate brown and a “really bright, but still dark green.” Again, I’m not a box of crayons, or chocolates.
Though while I’m at it, I might as well say that I like a lot of colours. Why is it that we need to have a favourite colour?
People will ask me what my favourite sport is and my answer is always the same. It depends what time of year it is. Whichever ones are currently in season, those are my favourite.
To pick one is impossible for me. There is no “favourite”.
It’s like asking a parent who their favourite child is.
Growing up, I used to have favourite athletes in different sports. Now, I don’t. There are players I like and players I don’t really care for, but to pick a favourite is challenging for me.
It’s like telling someone you love them. You don’t tell a cashier you love them just because they’re always there when you buy food, even if you’ve built a report with them and really appreciate their two minutes of friendship.
The word “favourite” and “love” go hand in hand in that respect, I guess.
This is how you know I’ve been watching way too many episodes of The Bachelor. I’ll try and reel this in.
When it comes to picking a favourite number, I’ve always been a bit lost. There are multiple numbers I like but I’ve never been able to commit to just one.
I know some people who have one favourite number and that’s it. Everything else is awful. Their number, or no number.
At this point, I’m just going to list some numbers and tell you why I like them, or why I don’t like them.
Tell me if you can spot a theme, when it comes to the numbers I like.
1 – I’m not cocky enough, despite how my tone is on this blog, sometimes.
2 – I was born on the second. You’re supposed to like the number you were born on. Right?
3 – No.
4 – Never understood the hype.
5 – I like the number 5. Jalen Rose wore the #5 and it looked cool on his jersey. (Chris is gonna love this comment). But do I like the #5 because of him, or do I like it because I like it.
6 – I hate that Toronto is called “the 6ix.” I’m an old man.
7 – Again, never understood the hype.
8 – Meh. I’d make too many “ate eight ____” puns and would ruin it. I already do.
9 – People say that the #9 is just an upside down six, but I see it as a loop de loop. Good luck getting that out of your head.
10 – I wore this number for three years when I played softball as a kid. I only wore it because my favourite player at the time, Vernon Wells, wore #10.
12 – I wore this number for one year when I played softball because the #13 wasn’t available and it was “close enough”.
13 – I wore this number my first year of softball. Everyone wanted #13 because we all liked Mats Sundin, but I arrived to the field, first, the day the jerseys arrived and had first pick.
Also, we only got to pick between 1-15 and the higher numbers were the bigger sizes.
19 – I genuinely like this number (even if it combines two numbers I’m not fond of). But I like it because Steve Yzerman wore #19 and so did a few other hockey players I liked as a kid.
22 – There’s a hockey player named Jordin Tootoo, and he wore #22 for Team Canada at the World Juniors tournament back when I was a kid. I guess this was my first introduction to how puns worked. I loved it.
In high school, Tootoo’s photo appeared in one of my textbooks because he was the first Inuk person, and Nunavut native (it’s a territory in Canada), to make the NHL.
I told the guy sitting next to me that Tootoo was my favourite player and he said to me, “Why? Are you Aboriginal?”
See, there’s that whole “people questioning my favourite things” again.
91 – I was born in ’91. Plus, it’s the reverse of 19. When I played intramurals in university and we decided to get t-shirts with our name and number on them, I struggled to pick a number.
I thought about the #2, #5, #19, #22, and #91. I thought, “I can’t be #19, that’s the number that my favourite hockey player was. I can be #91 and secretly pay homage and respect to him.”
My mind doesn’t work like the rest of your minds do, if you haven’t noticed.
I also thought that the #91 looked good with my last name and that having a high number was cool. So I ultimately decided on the #91.
If you read my About page, you’ll see that I signed it with my name and the #91. Why? To keep with the blog theme.
If you can’t tell, none of the numbers I like are ones that I really have a personal connection with. They’re all because of someone else, or because I think I’m supposed to like my date of birth.
Even when I wore the #10 for three years, I never felt like it defined me. It defined someone I looked up to. Maybe in a way that does define me, but it didn’t feel like it.
There’s never been a number that jumped out and said, “Hey Paul, let’s get married.”
I’ve always been stealing someone else’s number. Maybe that’s what everyone does. I don’t know.
So whenever I’m in the horrible situation where I have to introduce myself and give “interesting facts”, I resort to listing off my “favourites” like everyone else does – the canned, rehearsed answers.
Pizza. Home Alone. Mrs. Doubtfire. Blue. Did I mention pizza? How many more interesting facts do you need?
And then comes the inevitable, “That’s your favourite?” and I realize this whole ranking system is stupid and unnecessary.
Yet our favourite things define us.
It’s a catch 22, unless your favourite number is something else.
I’m really curious to know if anyone else faces this problem. Where they are forced to pick a “favourite”, but really can’t choose because they like too many, or nothing jumps out.
Comment below. Tell me your struggles in finding a favourite.