For years now I've seen 4:44 on the clock. Night or day, I inevitably look at the clock when it's 4:44. The haunting of 4:44 has progressed beyond just digital clocks, it has now spread into house numbers and license plates. It's even been passed down a generation. Ivy now sees it all the time, too. She'll often call me just to tell me it's 4:44. I've been waiting for years to figure out it's significance. I'm hoping that Pami's baby being born at 4:44 is the end of the cycle. As I told Pami, maybe it was Gus that I was waiting for all this time.
The whole 4:44 thing began when I was in 8th grade. The boys in my class started saying "four forty four" to each other and then they would proceed to laugh their asses off. This, of course, drove the girls in the class crazy because we had no idea what it meant and assumed it had something to do with us. When the boys realized this was driving us crazy, they just increased it's usage -- working overtime to work it into their already lame conversations. The girls retaliated by claiming 2:22 as their own which I thought that was totally lame, but I didn't have a better pitch for Joanne Sallese (unofficial 8th grade girls' spokeswoman mainly because she had huge boobs and it gave her a confidence none of us had, yet).
It wasn't until Mark Gillis (or was it Mark Olivieri?) yelled "four forty four" out-loud in the middle of Ms. Meade's math class that the tried and true catchphrase was finally put to rest. The boys were not allowed to ever say it again. If they were heard saying "four forty four," they could count on detention. With the steam taken out of the phrase, Mark Olivieri (or was it Mark Gillis?) finally told me what it meant: The boys in my class had a sleepover and apparently Marc Rodney woke all of them up at 4:44am by farting incredibly loudly.
And that was the day I learned then that nothing boys talk about or laugh about ever has anything to do with girls.