Some interesting facts about the number/word “forty”.
- My mobile phone’s predictive text function suggests “empty” when I try to write forty. I’m not sure if there’s anything I can read into that.
- The number forty is the only number in English in which the letters are in alphabetic order when it is spelled (ie Y is after T is after R is after O is after F). No other number has this quality. Go on, try it out if you don’t believe me.
- That’s all I can think of right now.
In more positive news I have worked out that I am immortal, which is actually quite depressing sounding, but at least means that turning 40 is completely meaningless. I have come to this conclusion with the help of Zeno. You see when I was young it was a well known fact that life expectancy for men was 70. Slowly, this number has crept upwards until it has reached the current figure of 75 for British men. Zeno’s paradox is of the hare and the tortoise – the hare cannot ever catch the tortoise because we can look at the chase as a series of events. The hare starts from A and the tortoise ahead of it from B. The hare takes a certain period of time to run from A to B. That time allows the tortoise to move on to C. Then the hare runs from B to C, in which time the tortoise has moved on to D, etc, etc, and the hare never actually catches the tortoise. The same works for my age. When I was born I was scheduled to die at 70, but when I reach 70, I will be rescheduled to die at 78 (let’s say). By the time I get to 78, I'll have gained a few more months, and so on. Hence I am immortal.
I remember when my dad turned 40 (this in itself is a statement which reminds me of the encroaching years) and he received a card from a friend “welcoming” him to his “fifth decade”. I, too, will in less than 24 hours be embarking on my fifth decade. Blimey.
Anyway, I’ve ordered my zimmer frame and booked myself into a hospice, and I’ll be sitting in front of the TV in my slippers complaining about the music that kids listen to these days if anyone needs me.
"XXXX", as the Romans might have said. Or older Romans at least - young hip ones, apparently, would have been more likely to say XL, which coincidentally will probably be my t-shirt size by tomorrow.