Secret Common Bond


A woman at the bar wore a black t-shirt adorned with a golden spiral of the fibanacci, and a word underneath. The was dotted with a heart.

I knew what that shirt meant. At least, I was pretty certain. Unless, somehow Numberphile was a more general term than one of my favorite Youtube channels. That no one else knows about. This is a confession that I’m often making in conversations.

“I watch a lot of Youtube.”

Hwo much? It won’t tell you how much. It could, but it doesn’t.

It often feels like this little secret of mine, a built-up collection of video essays across a weird variety of subjects.

And of all of those subscriptions, the videos about numbers was perhaps the weirdest of my obsessions. British professors talking about maths, their equations and diagrams and sequences written out on camera across the low contrast of brown kraft paper and sharpie markers.

I waited until the end of the concert before approaching her to ask about the tee, after she had guided a younger girl, maybe her daughter, up to the edge of the stage to say hello to the musicians with their horned instruments.

“You can’t get one of these, they were limited edition,” she told me. “But you know Numberphile!”

I said I didn’t really always understand the videos, but I was always deeply intrigued by them. She confessed that even though she had been math major, she didn’t always understand them, either.

Afterward, in that brief glow of shared fandom, I wondered if there might be some odd intersectional t-shirt upon which there would be a shared bit of humane interest each paired set of people might share a secret common bond.



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