If one is the loneliest number, than twelve is a pretty gregarious guy. Especially on this rare day, when three 12s define it.
There must be something about 12 that gives it a zing, a tang, a je ne sais quoi. It must be wired into the human genome for certain. Why else are there so many iconic 12s? Twelve months in a year, Twelve signs of the zodiac. Twelve days of Christmas. Maybe it doen't have the reproductive binary powers of a 2, or the numenous mysticism of a 3, or the lucky patina of a 7 and 11. But you can't ignore its historical and mythical resonance. The 12 apostles. The 12 tribes of Israel. The 12 Knights Arthur put on his Round Table. The 12 Labors of Hercules. The 12 sons of Odin.
Twelve men have walked on the Moon. 12 face cards in a deck. 12 hues in the color wheel. And pace Ron Paul, 12 districts in the Federal Reserve System.
Maybe it's biological. For there just happen to be 12 cranial nerves: (1) olfactory; (2) optic; (3) oculomotor; (4) trochlear; (5) trigeminal; (6) abducens; (7) facial; (8) acoustic; (9) glossopharyngeal; (10) vagus; (11) accessory; (12) hypoglossal.
Just think, without these you wouldn't be able to smell, to see, to move your eyes, to make faces, to hear, to speak, to digest food, and to breathe. About everything we depend upon to go on living.
In the depths of winter, when you're getting cabin fever, why not get to know these nerves a bit better. Start with their names. A good mnemonic is this: "On old Olympus's towering top, a fat-assed German viewed a hop." It may not sound politically correct, but the first letters help to remember this amazing indispensable collection of 12. And to say that does take a lot of nerve.