Friday, February 27, 2015

Fast at Fifty

A week ago, with friends and family,
I celebrated my birthday - for the 50th time.
It was a great day, with lots of folks over for barbecue and cake.
I enjoyed swapping great stories with several gondoliers.
Bring up "falling in the water" with a bunch of guys who make their living
on a boat and you're sure to hear some fun stories.

One of my great friends is Steve Atkins, who is the father of gondolier
Simon in my Newport operation.  Steve wrote me by far the most creative
and researched birthday cards I've ever received.

I asked him to send me the text so I could post it, because really,
something like this deserves to be appreciated by everyone.
With any luck it might just go viral.

Here's the birthday message to me from Steve Atkins
on my 50th anniversary as a person:

My dear friend Greg,

You've now lived for 110010 years, as far as binary goes.

The Romans would have said you are now L.
That looks nice and clean and probably significant to them.
In base 10, you're 50, and that's significant to much of the modern world, but what's a year anyway? And why aren't we counting those first 9 months?

Today we have arrived at roughly the same place in our solar
orbit where you were when you were born. For lack of a better name, we could call this place February 21st. In the northern hemisphere, we call this neighborhood of the solar system winter. Counting the day you were born, you've now been here 51 times, but it kind of feels like, other than orbiting the sun 50 times, maybe you haven't really gotten anywhere.

After thinking about that for awhile, and thinking that must be wrong, I did some research and some math, and based on the rotation of our galaxy and the speed at which it is hurtling toward this ominous sounding thing that I didn't even know about before called
The Great Attractor, it turns out that in your lifetime, you've actually traveled 914,286,753,091 miles. I know that's not a nice round number like 50, but... all I can say is congratulations!

And no matter where or when you go in the future, I'll be glad to be your friend. Don't feel old, feel fast!  (and well traveled indeed)

Happy Birthday,
Steve Atkins

So to my friend Steve:
thanks for this great, thought provoking piece of well-wishing.

To my friends who were at my house on the 21st:
Thanks for being here to help usher in the big number.

To those who couldn't make it:
I hope to see you soon, and thank you for your friendship - it's worth more to me than you know.

And to anyone who might be racing against me in the upcoming US Gondola Nationals:
Watch out! I'm fifty, and I'm fast!

No comments: