By Steve Crump Source
My wife is tired of being mistaken for the Antichrist.
She's a mild-mannered Unitarian accountant who happened, by sheer chance, to be assigned a computer-generated cell phone number years ago that ends with the numbers "666."
Victoria is not interested in taking over the world, engaging in diabolical works of any kind or impeding anyone's free exercise of morality in any way. She just wants to be able to give out her phone number without the recipient raising his or her eyebrows.
If you're not up on your Bible, the Book of Revelation says "666" is the Number of the Beast, generally interpreted to be the Antichrist. Sometime before Christ's second coming, some believe, there will be a period of "trials and tribulations" during which the Antichrist - inspired by Satan - will try to win supporters with great works, and will silence anyone or make enemies of any nation that refuses refuses to go along with his or her devilish schemes.
A fair number of theologians now think biblical translators got it wrong; the Number of the Beast is supposed to be 616. Notwithstanding, you'll find many Christians nowadays who react to encountering the triple-six like they would to meeting a skunk in an outhouse.
My wife finds that response a bit off-putting. No one is required to be the Antichrist if he or she does not wish to be, Victoria points out. She'd just like to be able to call a plumber without him hanging up on her.
And she comes by that frustration honesty. Her dad's birthday is June 6, which last year - of course - was 6/6/06. Ken is a retired college professor of Western history. He's not interested in the devil either, unless Satan turns out to have been George Armstrong Custer.
I've suggested that Victoria change her phone number, but she resists on principle. People should be judged by the content of their character, she says, not by the digital configuration of their personal electronic devices.
I had a friend and next-door neighbor when I was growing up in Pocatello, Rick, who lived at 666 Grey St. (I lived at 616 Grey St., which I guess makes me the real Antichrist). Door-to-door missionaries of various faiths never rang his family's doorbell; they all rang ours.
One late Halloween afternoon when I was 9 or 10, Rick and I were in my living room getting ready to go trick-or-treating. I was dressed as the Lone Ranger, Rick as the devil.
The doorbell rang, and when I opened the door I found an older couple from a local evangelical church, each holding a Bible. They looked at Rick and were visibly taken aback.
Nodding my head toward my friend, I came up with the single best one-liner of my life: "He lives next door."