Stalky & Co.-Defying 'Three is a Crowd'

Thursday, January 19, 2012
1:33 PM
3 is not my favorite number. Whenever I am asked to give a number out of the recesses of my subconscious, I often say seven and not three. But quite inexplicably, the digit 3 has become a part of my life.

For one, three is the most abused number in English. Most people particularly those whose mother tongue is not English, this number is often times read, said, blurted out as 'tree.' As a language teacher, it has been my responsibility and, lately, my goal, to correct this mispronunciation.

Secondly, my closest friends usually come in threes or we make up a group of three. When I was in high school I used to write this story/drama/novel (depending on what I wanted to call it when I was young) about my circle of friends who I thought would be with me to the ends of the Earth. Both of them  were smart (forgive me for the use of the past tense since I could not speak for their current capabilities)--one was good in Math, the other in subjects related to memorizing things. I did not excel in neither, just the average but I can I say I started to show my aptitude in languages back then. Right now, I don't even know where they are and I don't seem to care much about their activities.

When I got to the University, my closest friends came from a different batch, different majorship that at first it was most unlikely that we would stick together for a very long time. I am glad to note that they remain my closest friends, Kath and Grace. We got closer because of our school organization, PNU-SG Commission on Elections. I can say that we were the pillars of that organization when we were still in school. We underwent series of trials, hardening questions, harboring grudges and all but we stood tall. Eventually we became friends.

When I started working, I hung out with Louie and Edison, technically my seniors in the University and in the workplace. One would think there would be a gap among us but I am glad to say there was none. They were the reasons why the workplace seemed less stressful for me.

Working for Korean companies, I met friends who shared the same behavior and ideas. If my  memory serves me right, I have written things about them in my blog before and our adventure still goes on. One of the groups I belonged to was EpFour, established to divert my friends and my attention from our depressing work area. Our life then seemed to be so routinary and boring that we looked forward to our after-work meetings. Aside from that, the four of us, Maria, Maiden, Jaina and I, had the same drama and anime addictions. We even had characters that fit our attitude well. The next group I belonged in the same workplace was the Hyotei group, consisted of fanfiction writers that have developed a similar liking for a club in Prince of Tennis, Hyotei. I do not consider it as my favorite team but one of my favorite characters comes from that group. I call Maria Atobe until now because of her similarity with the Hyotei King. Instead of calling Cheska Kabaji, I call her Chezuka because she also has an attachment to the Seigaku leader but in the Hyotei Gakuen, she prefers to be called Kaba-chan because she has a stronger preference for brawny characters than bespectacled ones. As for me, in Hyotei Gakuen, I am Oshitari, the sarcastic "soft-spoken" tensai who never fails to contradict Atobe. Outside of the group, I am either called FujiEiji or Niou.

Third point why I say three has become part of my life, I have this inexplicable attachment to novels with three main characters such as Three Musketeers and Harry Potter. When I was in high school I have a lot of websites about Three Musketeers, I frequented the library for information about Athos, Porthos, and Aramis. Instead of reading pocketbooks like what my classmates used to read, I read, thought, and dreamed about my musketeers and how it would feel like living in France. In my addiction I even wrote an essay--not a good one, mind you--about Alexandre Dumas.

Though he doesn't exactly share his limelight, Harry Potter is often seen with his best friends Ron and Hermione. I have been addicted to them since high school. I have followed their adventure from Philosopher Stone to Deathly Hollows.

When I thought this subconscious addiction to three would stop there then comes the Trilogy of the Lord of the Rings. How crazy is that?

Just lately I buried my head in Rudyard Kipling's novel Stalky & Co. It took me a long while to finish that thin book. At first I could not get the hang of the dialogues in it but the setting of the story helped me a lot as it is a school. The story revolves around this three...I repeat...three boys who excel in different fields but do not run out of naughtiness. Stalky is the leader who can worm his way out of any trouble because of his expertise in spoken language. He is quite witty. M’Turk is a placid guy who storms up when triggered and he has a great aptitude in Latin. Beetle on the other hand is a poet who vents his emotions on paper or anything he can write his thoughts on.

 They, often reprimanded by the school masters and heads, are the pioneers of naughtiness and chaos in school. They don’t care much about rules and stuff. What they know is they have to go to school because their esteemed parents want them to in order for them to become good citizens of their country. As any other students, Stalky, M’Turk, and Beetle use the school as their playground instead.

The book reminded me of how I studied seriously in high school and not so seriously in college. How I made fun of the teachers I did not like particularly those who would just go to school, give us things to do without teaching us anything.

What is more is that the book finally solidified why three seems to be a good number for friends. I cannot imagine ‘Stalky and M’Turk’ tandem without missing Beetle, and it goes for any other tandem missing out a person. In the friendship of three, there may be a stronger bond between two friends, it won’t be the same as having all three together. What is more is there are times one finds himself extremely different from the other that there should be another person to smoothen the relationship. My friends and the books I have read prove this.

If Stalky, M’Turk and Beetle were alive, I would have thanked them. I haven’t examined my life from this angle until now. Who would have thought that the number three has been a very significant digit for me? Even though my favorite number will never be three, I will give more justice to it. Learning that I haven’t been a victim of “three is a crowd,” and I can’t remember a time when that number has done me wrong, I guess it is time for a different perspective. The proper way of putting it will be “the Power of Three.” 

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