The Eight Factors of (My) Age

Tomorrow, June 3, I will be one third into my seventh decade. And you know what that means. That’s right: math! I’ve always been a fan of mathematics, no matter how skillless I am (I’m creating a new word to celebrate my sixty-third birthday, see?).

My personal interest in my age began in 2003, when I turned forty-eight, because I realized that number had ten factors, ten integers to evenly divide the number of my years. Cool. My newest age of 63 is my latest arithmetical wonder since that number has eight factors--still pretty good: 1, 3, 7, 9, 21, 63.

At one, I lived in Baltimore, Maryland, on Charles Street. I was a cute, little Gerber baby and an only child.

The winter I was three, I saw snow fall for the first time. I was electrified.

I had three other siblings by the time I was seven, and the Cuban Missile Crisis further awakened me to the planet beyond my world.

I remember feeling proud of America, one month after I turned nine, for passing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“When I was twenty-one,” to misquote Frank, “it was not a very good year.” The Bicentennial Celebration of 1976 found me in the library, researching the patriotic claims bruited throughout my nation. To quote Otto, “Disappointed.” My parents lurched toward divorce. A bald spot appeared on my crown.

Now that I am 63, I’m looking forward to the end. Calm down. I mean I’m thinking about how soon that might be.

At birth, in 1955, my life expectancy was 69.1 years. Yikes. To quote Jack Reacher, “Not good.”  Soothingly and however, according to current CDC actuarial tables, my life expectancy, having lived this long, is now 77.8 years. Yow. To misquote Oliver, “Can I have some more, please?”

Sure, I can. For my birthday, I’m giving myself another gift. I’ll use the factor of 3 (which will be mine again tomorrow anyway) to divide my (soon) current age of 63; then, I will add the answer to my age for my own new personal life expectancy: 63 + 21 = 84. Nice.

That leaves me twenty-one glorious years on this beautiful planet before I must leave the bright, broad, brilliant universe and begin the important business of never existing again. I can take that, and I will.

Happy birthday to me and, of course, to you.

Eric Shaffer