Monday, November 10, 2014

No Matter How You Look At It

Consider the following events:

President Eisenhower severs diplomatic and consular relations with Cuba, as Fidel Castro announces that he is a Marxist-Leninist, and that Cuba would adopt socialism.

President Kennedy delivers the first ever live presidential news conference.

Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human in space.

The Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba begins (and ends, in shambles, two days later).

Astronaut Alan Shepard becomes the first American in space.

President Kennedy announces to Congress his goal to put a man on the moon before the end of the decade.

Construction of the Berlin Wall begins.

New York Yankee Roger Maris hits his 61st home run on the last game of the season, beating Babe Ruth’s 34-year-old record.

Neil Armstrong, at the time an experimental research test pilot, records a new world record speed piloting an X-15 rocket plane.

Joseph Heller publishes Catch-22.  

All of those events took place the same year the following people were born:

Barack Obama, Meg Ryan,  Lea Thompson, Dan Marino, George Clooney, the late Princess Diana, Michael J. Fox,  Eddie Murphy,  Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Heather Locklear, Nadia Comaneci, the late James Gandolfini, Dennis Rodman, Ralph Macchio, Forest Whitaker, Wayne Gretzky, Ricky Gervais, Toby Keith, Woody Harrelson, yours truly.

The year: 1961.  But honored as I am to share my birth year with such luminaries, I will choose to brag about this:  as Mad Magazine pointed out on it’s cover in March of that year,  1961 was the first “upside-up” year (the number looks the same upside down as it does right side up) since 1881.  The next one will be 6009.  So, all of my living 1961 brethren and I can say, with absolute certainty, that we are the only human beings currently alive that were born during an “upside-up” year.

And no one else will be able to say that for the next 3,995 years.