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COURSEY: For best results, read this at 12 minutes after noon

Published: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 11:33 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 11:33 a.m.

When I woke up this morning, I thought it was the end of the world.

No, I wasn't hungover. But the newspeople on my clock radio were talking about the significance of today's date — you know, 12-12-12 — and I immediately jumped to the conclusion that the Mayan calendar (or maybe some wacky radio minister) had predicted today to be Armageddon.

But I was wrong. The old-time Mayan calendar has set that singular event for nine days from now, which also happens to be the winter solstice. So we can all relax for the moment.

And enjoy the many blessings of 12-12-12.

Seriously, this is a seriously auspicious date. If you believe in these types of things.

And apparently a lot of people do. ABC News this morning reported a brisk business in Las Vegas wedding chapels, where a dozen minutes after midnight this morning was a popular time to tie the knot (12:12 a.m. on 12-12-12, and don't forget a dozen roses for the bride).

An overheard conversation at the gym this morning involved plans for a 12-12-12 party later today.

“Is it at 12 minutes after noon?” “It should be, but everybody's working, so it's at 6:12 instead.”

Bring a 12-pack.

These kinds of dates pop up all the time, of course. Last year's lucky day was 11-11-11, and the year before that was — you guessed it — 10-10-10. But we won't see another one for more than 88 years, when 01-01-01 rolls around again.

So triple 12s carries some extra weight (though next year we'll probably be calling for a baker's dozen).

Numerologists find different reasons to read significance into today's date. On ABC, one believer said 12 signifies “completion.” In China, it stands for “love,” which USA Today said resulted in a spike in appointments for doctors to perform Caesarean births on this day. You can only imagine what business was like on 11-11-11 (eternal love) and 10-10-10 (perfection).

Not everyone believes this stuff. In fact, Underwood Dudley, a retired math professor and author of “Numerology,” told ABC that contrary to being a day of good luck and portent, 12-12-12 “is just a cute day.”

“Just because it's 12-12-12 doesn't mean anything will happen. It would happen anyway.”

Exactly what you'd expect from a guy named Underwood Dudley.

But, as if to prove him wrong, some of the most popular musicians in the world are gathering today in New York for a concert to benefit the victims of Superstorm Sandy, and 12-12-12 is an essential part of the event. Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Kanye West, Alicia Keys and many more top acts will perform at Madison Square Garden, with the whole thing streaming on the web (121212concert.org) and broadcast — free — on more than three dozen television channels.

It starts at 4:30 p.m. I wonder what that means.

Chris Coursey's blog offers a community commentary and forum, from issues of the day to the ingredients of life in Sonoma County.

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