I was born on this date in 1968. That makes me 42, which any good geek knows as The Answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. My family will be helping me celebrate today with cake and possibly a nice towel.
Feeling rather important at this very special moment, I have consulted Deep Thought to generate a few more noteworthy milestones in the life of a geek. Answers have been converted to Base 13 and then reconstructed using homemade Scrabble tiles.
A lot can happen in a day. Just ask Jack Bauer, who had some doozies while battling terrorists for eight seasons in FOX-TV’s 24. By comparison, my first 24 hours were not as patriotic, sticking to a rotation of eating, sleeping, and crying. On the other hand, I probably did torture my mom for a while, and how many times did Jack survive birth while helping the CTU?
At age pi, I was dressed up as Batman using my grandfather’s sliderule as a sword. My grampy was born on the same day as Albert Einstein, who became a professor of hydraulic engineering at UC Berkeley. Hydraulics concerns itself with the flow of water, like the kind over which Batman was suspended while battling a shark on ABC’s television debut of the classic 1966 film, just two days before I was dressed up as Batman. Everything comes full circle when you deal with pi.
It is ironic that the Age of Star Wars began for me at the same age young Anakin Skywalker was when he started feeling the Force flow through him. Trapped in an techno-agricultural life on an arid world, Anakin was building androids and pod racers before his first decade was done. I wouldn’t want to be him at age 46, but Darth Vader was pretty much at his zenith when he was The Answer a few years earlier.
There were times as a boy when I wondered if my life was really what it was supposed to be. For Harry Potter, turning eleven meant discovering that he could probably do better than a closet under a staircase. When Harry found out he was a Wizard of remarkable destiny, the news came with an extended network of support, a wicked new broom, and a secret trust fund in a goblin bank. I’m pretty sure I got a bike.
The Golden Age of science fiction, according to Peter Graham, is twelve. If you aren’t a Geek at this point, odds are you won’t ever be one.
Excited about being able to drink legally? Not me. I was thankful to be alive without having to flee Sandmen in a dangerous search for Sanctuary. That was the adult life of Logan 3 and other Runners in William Nolan and George Johnson’s 1967 novel, Logan’s Run. At 21, the worst run I had to face was the one to get burritos and cheese fries at 1 a.m.
Speaking of round trips … It would take just under 41 years to take a vacation to the super-Earth exoplanet Gliese 581 d, thought to contain liquid water and a hospitable zone for colonization. Granted, you’d have to be traveling at the speed of light to make that timetable work. A baby born at the start of that trip would likely have a 9-year-old kid critiquing the powers of each of the X-men by the time the ship landed again.
This is the minimum age necessary to have a shot at seeing Halley’s Comet return a second time. The celestial body was first spotted by astronomer Edmund Halley in 1705 and last seen in the inner solar system in 1986. I’ll be 93 when it shows up again, but I’m getting off easy. Pity this year’s crop of college graduates, who will have to live to be 149 to see it twice.
Want to look young when you’re not? Take some tips from Miri, who looks 13 but is actually some three centuries old. Her secret? A failed societal attempt at immortality that killed off the population as they reached puberty. Yeoman Janice Rand could only hope to look that good when reaching her personal tricentennial. Thanks to Capt. Kirk and a big risk taken by Dr. McCoy, Miri survived the flip side of the Life Prolongation Complex to probably make it to 370-something.
It’s a tough milestone to reach, obviously, for a mere human. It would help to be a Time Lord all Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey with the fourth dimension. According to the current incarnation, the Doctor is 907 years old, although there is evidence from the Who mythology that he’ll make it to at least 1125. The truth is, the Doctor is a bit fuzzy on his birthday and how one measures Earth years accurately when bopping about the relative dimensions of space.
Billions of years
When the Immortals are pure consciousness floating in borrowed bodies and watching the universe unfold, I hope the future of humanity gets over ABC canceling the television version of Robert Sawyer’s Flash Forward. I’m not sure I will.
What is your favorite geeky age?