Barry Smith: Irrelativity

Barry Smith
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado
Jordan Curet The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

Let’s ponder the number 45 for a moment, as it’s clearly a magnificent number worthy of some ponderage.

Imagine an analog clock face indicating the passing of 45 minutes, like you might see in a recipe book for people who can’t read numbers well. There’s a hand at the 12, and one at the 9, and the space between the hands (clockwise) is tinted red. That’s 45 minutes. The remaining wedge of clock pie, that bit between the 9 and the 12, is a 90-degree angle. Or, more to the point, two 45 degree angles. So … 45 minutes, two 45-degree angles.

Forty-five and 45 equals 90. If you add the digits in 45 – four plus five – you get nine. Nine is the highest single digit you can get to before going back to zero. So cool.

Remember buying 45s when you were a kid? If you’re 45 you do. Clearly 45 is an awesome number.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject, I just had a birthday a few days ago. See if you can guess how old I turned. Go on … I’ll wait.

The thing about being this particular age (in case you’re still guessing) is that I can no longer pretend to not be an adult. This is a very adult number, no denying it. I now have to start doing things that adults do, and doing them in an adult-like manner. No problem.

Also, at this age I’ve now experienced birthdays pre and post-Facebook. Pre-Facebook was OK. There was the party, the gifts, the cake, the singing, the warmth of human affection, the being with family and friends. Not bad, if you’re into all that stuff. But I have to say, birthdays in the Age of Facebook are where it’s at. Super instant birthday gratification!

I woke up early on the big day, excited like a kid on Christmas morning, and went right to my computer. Can you imagine what went through my head as I scrolled down the list of birthday wishes from my many, many Facebook “friends?” Well, you don’t have to imagine it – I wrote it all down for you …

• • • •

“What?! Only 20 new posts? That’s it? What’s the point of having all these “friends” if I only get 20 birthday posts? Well, it is 6 a.m., I suppose it’ll build as the day continues. Still, my Australian friends could have picked up the slack a little bit.

OK, let’s go down the list. “Happy Birthday Barry.” Nice. Straightforward and to the point. Did I post something on their wall when it was their birthday? Can’t remember. I’ll get ’em next year for sure. Next. Ah, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY,” all caps. Now we’re talkin’. I don’t know this “friend” very well, but it’s a nice thought. What’s this next one: “Happy BD.” Really? BD? OK, I’ve been in a hurry before, but not so much that I didn’t have time to type out “birthday.” I’m gonna time myself typing it: Birthday. Two seconds, tops. You’d think they would … oh, they’re sending it via Facebook mobile. Now I feel bad.

Oh, look at this one – personal message AND a video link! That’s more like it. I’ve never sent a video link on a birthday wall posting, but now that I know how good it feels to get one I’m totally gonna do it. If I have time. And if I notice that it’s the person’s birthday. I should really glance over at that “Birthdays” section more often. I think everyone should endeavor to do the same. Today, especially.

“happy birthday barry.” OK, I seriously don’t know who this person is, but they must have a broken shift key. I’m gonna need to click on them and investigate. Oh, OK. Friends in common, got it. Complete stranger or not, I do like how their post adds to the overall bulk of the list. “HBD Barry” Really? HBD? No comment. “Have a good one.” Wow, I can’t believe THAT person posted on my wall. I thought they were mad at me. Same with her. What? THAT guy is wishing me a happy birthday? Seriously? I thought I unfriended him years ago.

And … that’s it. No more posts. End of the “party.” It went by so quickly, just like the last 45 years. I can think of at least five people who should have posted but didn’t. I’m gonna search through my friends list and find others. Why don’t they care? How long does it take to freakin’ type “happy birthday?” And no, I’m NOT gonna time it. Not this time. I’ve got better things to do.

I’m an adult, after all.