Tom Morey is a futurist. He works and sees things in the future.
For the 50th anniversary of the original Morey Boogie board, the father of the bodyboard and the sport of bodyboarding is revamping one of his most exciting creations - the Universal Numeral System (UNS).
Tom Morey's Universal Numeral System is a series of 11 symbols or glyphs - ten numbers and the decimal separator - that aim to deliver a clearer and easy-to-read numeral writing system.
The concept could very well be adopted in future names of bodyboard models. For example, Mach 2021 - who knows?
There are many numeral systems currently in use throughout the world.
The most commonly used system of numerals is the Hindu–Arabic - or Indo-Arabic - numeral system. If you're reading this, you're probably using it.
Tom Morey's Circle-and-Line Symbols
But Tom Morey believes we could adopt a better, easier-to-read numerical system.
"The world is full of miscommunication because of the hundreds of languages and dialects and dozens of numeral systems," explains Morey.
"You've got our version, the Roman numerals, and they are all different from the ones used in Asian countries."
"I was a math major, and I was always confounded by arithmetic."
"As an elementary school kid, my grammar teacher told me that my 3 and 4 were backward and that my 'M' looked like a 3."
"So I tried to figure out if there is a better way to depict numbers and if there's a better way to depict letters of the alphabet or any other letters."
So, in the simplest possible combination, you put a dot on the paper, and you will write the numbers to one side or the other side, depending on whether you're writing non-decimal and decimal numbers.
It all starts with the zero or, as Tom Morey calls it, "the notion of nothingness." And for that, we draw a simple upside-down curve with the width of a standard letter or character.
"It's a great symbol for the notion of emptiness," underlines Morey.
"Now, for the idea of one - a single thing - we use a simple straight line."
Morey's UNS uses these two basic symbols - a line (one) and a full circle (five) - to create the remaining numbers.
"With those two symbols - one and five - we're pretty much done because they're all we need to write every number in the universe."
And he's right.
"For instance, to draw a six, you draw a circle and then come down about halfway - like the hand of a clock."
And so on. If you want to write a million, you can put commas every three digits, like some of us do, for easier reading.
It's really simple - all you need is two symbols to draw all numbers. Here's 2021:
The Motel Key: "9" or "6"?
Tom Morey's numeral code will be more than just an idea on paper.
Sol Morey, Tom's oldest son, and the family want to create an app that allows users to adopt the UNS and use it with their keyboards and electronic devices.
"The really exciting thing for the commercial aspects is that every football, soccer, hockey, baseball jersey with a number on it could be printed this way with these symbols and better viewed," adds Tom.
"If I'm upside down out in space and there's a satellite nearby with a nine written on the old system, I really can't tell if it's a nine or a six."
"This happened to me. I went into a motel in a strange town, and I had been given the key number nine. I went to the door, and I tried it, and it didn't work."
"A guy hollered at me from inside his motel room: 'Hey, what do you do out there?' Well, it was the key number six."
"So, the idea is to use these numbers casually."
The overall goal of Tom Morey's universal numeral system is to have better communication.
"My congregational church minister told me: 'Boys, it's better to light one candle than curse the darkness."
"We have a lot of ways to be critical and so few ways to get things right. So, we work on trying to get things better."
"Little by little, we can work the problems and come out of the gloom that we've been plunging into recently."
The year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the Morey Boogie board.
The Morey family also plans to launch a series of products featuring Tom's own Universal Numeral System (UNS).