On Sharing a Birthday

On Sharing a Birthday

Something strange happened to me, once, on January 12, in a year in the early 1990s. Until that day, I knew of no one who shared the same birthday as myself. Then, that day, I happened to flip on my car radio, which was already tuned to a news/talk radio station. I was completely stunned by what happened next, for I had accidentally stumbled upon The Rush Limbaugh Show on his birthday — and mine. I learned this almost immediately, for one of Limbaugh’s callers said, right after I turned the radio on, “Hi, Rush! Happy birthday dittoes!”

Limbaugh laughed, and thanked the caller. I screamed, and then I yelled, “Noooooo! I can’t have the same birthday as Rush Limbaugh!” However, like it or not, I had to admit that this coincidence was, indeed, true. Also, since Limbaugh is older than I am, I also had to face up to the fact that he had this birthday first.

I wanted to have someone else to know I shared a birthday with — someone I could respect — so I did some research to find other people who also shared the same birthday as myself. In those days, of glacially-slow dial-up Internet with much, much less of value to be found there, this meant actually going to a physical library, looking in actual, bound-paper books (how primitive, right?), and spending a few hours to do what can now be done, with Google and Wikipedia, in seconds. I learned, in those hours, that I also share the birthday of January 12 with none other than John Hancock, the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence, according to the old-style system for the date of his birth. (The difference between old- and new-style dates is caused by the discrepancies between the Julian and Gregorian calendars.) Given that the primary author of that document was my all-time favorite president, Thomas Jefferson, that was something of which I could be proud.

In later years, I learned that Wikipedeans (a group to which I belong) have constructed pages there where anyone can quickly and easily learn with whom they share a birthday. The one for my birthday is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/January_12. By looking at the corresponding page for your own birthday, you, too, can find out whom you share a birthday. No matter what day that is, you’re quite likely to find, as I did, both people you like and dislike. After all, there are only 366 birthdays to go around, so sharing birthdays with famous (and infamous) people is inevitable for us all.

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I go by RobertLovesPi on-line, and am interested in many things, a large portion of which are geometrical. Welcome to my little slice of the Internet. The viewpoints and opinions expressed on this website are my own. They should not be confused with the views of my employer, nor any other organization, nor institution, of any kind.

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