September 20, 2007


The Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything

Today’s episode of MTIH is brought to you by the number 42, which among other important things happens to be the number of years I have completed upon this earth as of 4:05 a.m. Chicago time today. What will today hold in store? Probably not the same fate as my so-designated "Rolling Rock" birthday nine years ago, wherein I attempted to imbibe the contents of as many as possible of the fabled “33” green bottles from Old Latrobe. That was a night to forget, and thankfully beyond knowing that fact, it is.

No, today will be spent with the boy doing all the important things we do between infant and middle-aged father. I would have to say my life’s chief goal in general terms is to live long enough for Max to make it to this age, if for no other reason than to compare notes and likely have him show me the several roads not taken that might’ve made my life a bit more satisfying in my first 4.2 decades. It is my rock-solid belief that anyone who claims to have no regrets in life is telling a bald-faced lie. Perhaps I should rephrase that – anyone who says that if they could do it all over again they wouldn’t change a thing is seriously deluded (never mind the fact that the opportunity for one to do so does not exist).

At this point the two strangest things that stand out in unison of sorts are that I do not feel 42 emotionally and that at the age I do feel (for simplicity’s sake let’s just invert the number) I looked at 42-year-olds as being some seriously old fuckers for sure. Maturity for me has come slow, and as my beloved spouse can affirm is still very much a work in progress. Ironically that has a sort comforting youthful aspect to it, which is more often than not just an excuse to misbehave I suppose. My cosmic recipe at this point is an addiction to fun and excitement mixed with an aversion to the mundane “hafta-dos.” Sprinkle in a spicy case of procrastination and you have a life full of mediocre accomplishments, anger, frustration and a mess of really great memories, I’d guess much like any man who lives in quiet desperation.

But don’t get the impression that I am unhappy, in fact far from it. Yearning to be happier, certainly, but even in that I am daily learning more patience, moderation and wisdom, the lessons of which seem to come in a concentrated form from the midst of my son’s smiles and giggles.

Enough public display of introspection, onto the celebration! A few fun facts about

It is the atomic number of molybdenum, which is an element of high end steel alloys used for things such as mountain bikes.

It is the number of teeth dogs have, so there are 84 of those in our house.

The eight digits of pi beginning from 242,422 places after the decimal point are 42424242.

The song So Long and Thanks For All the Fish, (from the original score of the film The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) was one of 42 possible nominees in the 78th Annual Academy Awards for Best Song.

42 is one of “The Numbers” on the television show Lost, along with 4, 8, 15, 16 and 23

42 is the jersey number of Jackie Robinson, and when New York Yankee Mariano Rivera retires it will become the first and only number retired by all Major League Baseball teams.

42 is the number of laws of cricket.

In the ASCII character code 42 represents the asterisk* character.
*A handy indicator to have when discussing the Ultimate Answer.

Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland has 42 illustrations. In Chapter XII, the king explains “the oldest rule in the book”: “Rule Forty-two. All persons more than a mile high to leave the court.”

42 has some interesting parallels between Judaism, Christianity and Paganism:

It is the number of generations in the Gospel of Matthew’s version of the genealogy of Jesus of Nazareth.

It is the number of months the Beast will hold dominion over the Earth according to Revelation 13:5.

It is the number of youths which are mauled by bears that God sends upon them for mocking Elisha’s baldness 2 Kings 2:23 (Their God is an awesome God!)

It is the number of principles of Ma'at, the ancient Egyptian personification of physical and moral law, order, and truth.

It is the number of the “Forty-Two Lettered Name” ascribed to God in the Babylonian Talmud. A 3rd century source in the Talmud stated “The Forty-Two Lettered Name is entrusted only to him who is pious, meek, middle-aged, free from bad temper, sober, and not insistent on his rights.” (Well, one out of six is...pretty shitty)

In Japanese, 4 (shi) and 2 (ni) are together pronounced like “going to death.” Because of that they considered it a disastrous number. This happens in Hong Kong too, as 42 sounds like “easy death” in Cantonese.

Despite that last bit of superstition, my advice to myself today is


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What a fun poastie. :)

Wishing you a year full of joy and cupcakes, O'Tim!
if you feel old at 42, imagine my private horror!

happy birthday, tim. i bet spending it with max is a sweet treat.
Happy birthday, buddy. Nice to know there's someone older than me with a kid younger than mine. Thanks!
All the best for the day o'tim and well done for mentioning cricket, a game with the unwritten 43rd rule, don't try and understand the other 42.
I just started my 47th trip around ol' Sol, so don't feel bad. I've had some problems of late relating to my "immaturity" (bullshit! I just don't like cowtowing to the MAN!" I'll tell ya all about it "offline". Send me an email. 46 years young. I've got regrets but to quote the chairman of the board, "I did it my way!" F**k admitting that you are old! Fight the power! And never trust anyone over thirty! They are all full of sh*t! I know! I'm one of them! Happy B'day and many more to come!
Happy birthday!!
Man, you ARE old. Old, old,old. I won't turn 42 until over two months from now. Nanner.

Happy birthday!!!
Happy birthday, dude. If it's any consolation, Dostoyevsky didn't enter his great writing period until he was 42 (starting with 'Notes from Underground' and progressing through 'Crime and Punishment' and 'The Idiot')... so you've got all that existential middle-aged angst and alienation to look forward to!
Having done my 42 last year I can't think of a better person to take over.

And, just like The Answer, don't expect anything to make sense in your next 364 days. Quite the opposite, actually.

Ook ook
Happy Birthday, Babe!
Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday, a few days too late!! (sorry, I blog read once a week)
A belated happy birthday, and wishing you many more to come. My handy astrology book says that September 20th is "The Day of the Managers," and that your strengths are likely to be that you are organized, shrewd, and observant; your weaknesses may be that you are overconfident, overemotional, and inflated.

(Then again, it also says that I tend to be "stubborn and wearing." Who, me? Geez.)
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