The chairman is underwhelmed to learn about the amazing symmetry of the number 11 and its multiples, but he shows a flicker of interest in a CD that promises to solve his financial worries.

”Did you know numerologists are particularly excited about this year because of the palindromic qualities of the number 11?” I asked the chairman of the implausibly-sized investment company Second Coming Asset Management as we enjoyed a couple of pints of Pragmatic Reconciliation at The Fairly Low Mileage In Maintaining Last Week’s Plotline.

“Apparently it provokes a similar reaction in them as catnip for cats or oddly-named alcohol for us.” “Yes, yes,” sighed the chairman impatiently and not nearly pragmatically or reconciliatorily enough for my liking. “Even I know 11 x 11 is 121.” “Ah yes,” I replied. “But did you know, if a number is divisible by 11 and you reverse the order of the digits, you get another multiple of 11?

“Or that 111 x 111 is 12321 and 11111 x 11111 is 123454321? “Better still, did you know that 111111111 x 111111111 is 12345678987654321?” “No I did not,” said the chairman, his eyes narrowing with suspicion. “More to the point – nor should you?” “Fair call,” I agreed. “Squaring nine-digit numbers is not a natural constituency for me.

”We used to sell a few CDs at my last place but one – ’Chairman sings the blues’, that sort of thing”

“That’s why I’m grateful to Renaissance Asset Managers’ CIO Plamen Monovski for pointing out all the weird little symmetries built into the number 11 – though perhaps less so for his digging up the weird little quote from Blessed Augustine of Hippo: ’Numbers are the universal language offered by the deity to humans as confirmation of the truth.’

“He did also talk about the relationship between 11 and Fibonacci numbers, but that’s where he began to lose me, so, changing the subject with characteristic abruptness, may I ask instead if Scam has ever considered getting into the CD business?” “You mean a different seedy business from the wonderful world of investment,” asked the chairman, looking a little confused. (Scam continues below)

“No,” I tried again. “I mean C … D – as in compact disc.” “Oh, I see,” said the chairman. “Well, we used to sell a few when we ran that little boutique on the ground floor of my last place but one – you know, ’Chairman sings the blues’, Jose-Fredo da BigBadwolff’s ’World Music Selection’, that sort of thing – but nothing since. Why do you ask?”

“It’s just that I recently learned of the existence of the ’Money – increase your wealth’ hypnotherapy CD and my immediate reaction was to wonder if you were involved,” I replied. “The people behind it inform me the new year is a time of change and reassessment and this CD can help ­listeners bring about a more positive attitude to money, enfor­cing welcome changes after the expense of Christmas.

“So, if you worry about money or losing your job or you want more money or perhaps you dislike your job but can’t afford to leave it or you spend more than you earn or maybe you are uncomfortable with what you perceive other people think about your wealth or you are burdened with debt or money is fragmenting your time or your relationships with family and friends, then guess what?”

“This CD is for me?” ventured the chairman. “Got it in one I said. “You see, I know there is a big difference between making a living and making a life. By resolving inner conflicts between your old perceptions of money and current lifestyle, issues that once held you back can be resolved into opportunities to increase your wealth and learn new life skills as the CD helps you unravel the real you.

“What is more, apparently, hypnosis can help you break free from the habit of focusing on having a lack of wealth and realign your focus to attracting more money into your life. Negative emotions, which once prevented you from becoming more financially content, will depart, leading to greater financial freedom. Indeed, as one rather lovely client testimonial put it, ’I used to think money was like a distant relative whom I rarely saw, but now I feel money is my friend’.”

“Well, I’m convinced,” said the chairman. “Or at least I would be if I didn’t already have more money than I knew what to do with and receive all the inner conflict resolution I need from listening to ’Jose-Fredo plays the music of the Andes’.”