Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Getting on

Tomorrow, Thursday March 2nd, 2006, I will turn 40. There’s absolutely no logical reason why this should be a big deal - after all today I am on my 14,609th day, tomorrow will be my 14,610th. But somehow it is, and it has slowly been impinging on my consciousness over the last couple of weeks. I am quite sure that actually having the birthday and being 40 will be absolutely no different from any other year, and in that respect I’ll be glad when tomorrow finally comes and I can once again resume being only vaguely aware of my age.

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.


Gabriel Radic said...

Happy XL anniversary, Andy!

I'll take the opportunity to thank you for setting up this fine blog. I enjoy every post you publish, and forwarded the address to a bunch of people who read you now too.

soj said...

Indeed... happy birthday and multi ani traiasca (may you live many more!).

Don't get depressed - just grab a bottle of Taria Bihor and repeat as necessary: paharul sus! :)

That's the Romanian way to do it.