This guest post comes from Paul Asay–author of God on the Streets of Gotham and creator of the Watching God Blog at Patheos. His forthcoming book Burning Bush 2.0: How Pop Culture Replaced the Prophet examines some of the ways God communicates with us through entertainment media.
I should’ve been paying closer attention to the calendar. It seems as though April 8 was officially Lost day. As in Lost, the old ABC television show.
For those who missed out on the glory that was Lost (if you’d like to catch up on all 121 episodes, don’t worry; I’ll wait), the premise was this: A bunch of people crash on a mysterious island, press buttons, battle smoke monsters, avoid polar bears, travel through time (sort of) and ruminate on faith.
Oh, and it was the best television show ever.
Don’t be throwing Game of Thrones or The Wire or The Sopranos in my face. Did Tony Soprano ever make allusions to Narnia? Did Daenerys Targaryen ever namecheck 18th-century philosophers? I thought not. Lost was so stuffed with allusions that it felt like a piñata filled with humanities classes. It had so many recurring themes that people probably quit their jobs to catalog all of Lost’s minutiae. (According to the fine folks at LostPedia, no less than 92 literary works were referenced in the show, including nine by Stephen King).
One of the show’s most enduring recurring themes, incidentally, was a string of numbers: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42. They were introduced as the winning numbers for Hurley (Jorge Garcia), one of the most unlucky lottery winners around, and they popped up again and again on the show. They were printed on the show’s mysterious hatch. They were broadcast from the island’s radio tower. For years, poor unfortunate folks living on the island had to input that same string of numbers to, ostensibly, keep the world from blowing up.
(Eerily, they also have deep personal resonance for me, being ages that I’ve already been.)
They also correspond with a date, according to the most dedicated of Lost fans: April 8, 2015 at exactly 4:23 p.m. and 42 seconds.
Alas, I was unable to celebrate Lost day. No smoke monsters stopped by to remind me. Mr. Eko failed to signal me with that Scripture-laden stick of his. I was neither zapped backward, forward or sideways in time.
But the next time Lost day comes around … in a thousand years … I’ll be sure to set a reminder in my iPhone 983 and commemorate the day with a meal: Ham from a feral boar and an official Dharma Initiative Apollo bar.