Friday, February 11, 2022

Andy Young: M x D = Y

By Andy Young

Anyone possessing the right attitude about life knows that every 24-hour period is important in its own way. But some days are more special than others. Take this Friday, for example.

Feb. 11th is already legitimately historic. King Henry VIII became recognized as the Church of England’s supreme head on the 42nd day of the year in 1534. The first session of the United States Senate that was open to the public convened on Feb. 11 in 1794. And the 11th of February 1990 saw not only the release of Nelson Mandela from captivity after 27 years of confinement in various South African prisons, but something nearly as unlikely in the sports world, when James “Buster” Douglas, a 42-1 underdog, knocked out previously undefeated Mike Tyson to win the world heavyweight boxing championship.

Historically significant persons born on February 11 include Pope Gregory XIV in 1535, Thomas Edison in 1847, and in 1863, John Francis Fitzgerald, who in addition to serving half a dozen years as the mayor of Boston in the early 20th century, later helped his grandson, future president John F. Kennedy, get elected to Congress for the first time, in 1946.

But this particular Friday (2-11-22) is extra special, because how often does a date, when abbreviated in the familiar numerical shorthand, feature the last two digits of the current year as the product of the month and the day? There are only three such dates in 2022; the others: the already-elapsed Jan. 22 (1-22-22) and the still-to-come Nov. 2 (11-2-22).

This is the second consecutive year that a mere three calendar days will satisfy this particular specification. The trio of dates that qualified in 2021 were Jan. 21, March 7, and July 3.

In 2023 the pickings will be even slimmer. If you don’t have a “month times date equals year” party on Jan. 23, you won’t be having one at all, since 1-23-23 is the only date that qualifies next year.

But don’t despair, numerologists: 2024 is going to be magical for number nerds, and not just because it's a leap year. A septet of 2024’s dates qualify as lucky: Jan. 24 (1-24-24), Feb. 12 (2-12-24), March 8 (3-8-24), April 6 (4-6-24), June 4 (6-4-24), Aug. 3 (8-3-24), and Dec. 2 (2-12-24). That means nearly two percent (okay; 1.91 percent, for those offended by embellishment) of 2024’s days qualify for “month times date equals year” status.

Hopefully devoted digitologists won’t start taking all those magic dates for granted after the mother lode of 2024, because in both 2025 (Jan. 25 and May 5) and 2026 Jan. 26 and Feb. 13) there’ll be only two opportunities to have the product of the date and the month equal the last two digits of the year.

And after 2026 there’ll be only eight remaining such dates for the rest of the decade: Jan. 27, March 9 and Sept. 3, 2027; Jan. 28, Feb. 14, April 7 and July 4, 2028; and Jan. 29, 2029.

The 2030’s will have 21 occasions where the year will equal the month times the date. The first will be Jan. 30, 2030, and the last will be March 13, 2039. But the outlook gets a lot dimmer for the 2040’s, when three separate years (2041, 2043, and 2047) won’t have even one date where M times D equals Y.

That pretty much sums up this subject. Unless, speaking of sums, anyone wants to explore the significance of this year’s Feb. 20, March 19, April 18, May 17, June 16, July 15, Aug. 14, Sept. 13, Oct. 12, Nov. 11, and Dec. 10. <

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