We all have some special talents. I was a prodigy in typing, surpassing the skills of the typing teacher in the seventh grade. I had a semi-photographic memory, which aided me in tests during high school and college but is fading away quickly as I continue to age. Finally, I was a math whiz for my time.
The problem was I did not want to pursue any career in a math related field. I was forced to skip my first two quarters of calculus as a Freshman because of my test scores and looking back, I think that “cleping” calculus was one of the biggest mistakes of my educational journey. Without a background in calculus, the advanced placement eventually caused me to avoid math-related career paths going forward, though it was clearly my strength.
No regrets here, as I thrived in my chosen degree of Agricultural Economics and enjoyed my career until my retirement in December of 2018. Math impacts almost all of us but was especially useful in my careers in the peanut and restaurant industries. The truth is math skills are a benefit no matter your career track.
Despite not following a math-centric path, for all these years I continued to love mathematics. I also love music, which is math related. I especially love useless trivia of all kinds, particularly related to numbers.
I am writing this article during the early hours of February 22, 2022. The short form of the date is 2/22/22. That is a pure delight to my trivia loving mind. This alignment of the number “2” will not happen again for 200 years. After that, it will be another 20,000 years before the twos align in such a spectacular fashion.
Another special delight about this special date is that 2/22/22 falls on a Tuesday. How crazy is that coincidence? It just would not be the same if the date fell on a Wednesday or a Saturday.
This is the ninth alignment of numbers in my lifetime. On 5/5/55, before I was even a year old, the first configuration occurred. “The Legend of Davy Crockett”, sung by Fess Parker was in the Top 5 songs of the USA.
On 6/6/66, the most popular name for a girl was Lisa. For a boy, the favorite was Michael. I had just graduated from the sixth grade at Cottonwood Elementary School.
On 7/7/77, people were glued to their television watching “Starsky & Hutch”, “Laverne & Shirley” and “Good Times”. Jimmy Carter was President. I was a year out of Auburn.
On 8/8/88, the Chicago Cubs attempted to play their first game ever under the lights. It was rained out in the fourth inning. The Chinese consider this the luckiest day of the 20th century, leading to a massive number of weddings. I had two daughters attending and a wife teaching school.
On 9/9/99, Bill Clinton was President, Sixth Sense was the most popular movie, and CDs were the most popular way to listen to music. A new technology called “texting” was becoming very popular. My oldest daughter was a Freshman at Agnes Scott College.
On 1/1/11, #3 TCU beat #4 Wisconsin in the 97th Rose Bowl, illustrating how much college football has changed in the past 11 years. Seven people were killed in a tornado outbreak. I was enjoying two grandchildren!
On 11/11/11, “Someone Like You”, by Adele was at the top of the music charts. “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Mad Men” were popular on television.
On 2/2/22, it was Groundhog Day, National Signing Day for college football, and World Read Aloud Day. The Washington Redskins were renamed the Washington Commanders.
Finally, on 2/22/22, the most important thing that I am aware of is that today is my grandson’s 14th birthday. Henry Vanstone is the one that made me a grandfather. This day is made special to me not so much because of a mathematical alignment of numbers, but because of Henry. The fact that Henry is smarter in math than I ever was, well that just makes it even better.
Happy Birthday, Henry. I will be thinking about you tonight at 22 minutes and 22 seconds after 10 p.m. when it will be Tuesday, 2/22/22 at 22:22:22 p.m. A birthday to remember, for sure.
Dan Ponder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org