Hey, everyone — it’s 11/12/13! What are you doing to celebrate this historic calendrical convergence?
Nothing? Yeah, us neither. You’re excused if you couldn’t get worked up over what “Today” heralded as a “once a century” date, an occasion so special that they used to host the live-on-tv nuptials of a New York teacher and account manager, supposedly part of a throng of couples racing to wed on a date thought to bring good luck (or at least a helpful anniversary-reminder device).
2010 even offered the fleeting magic of a calendrical grand slam on Sequential day — at 12:34 and 56.7 seconds on 8/9/10. Sorry if you missed it. Similar bursts of hype attended 10/10/10 and 9/9/09, etc. Reporters managed to dredge up expectant parents nervous about their babies being born on the sign-of-the-devil 6/6/06 and we have a colleague who got a great bargain on her 7/6/07 wedding because everyone else wanted to get married the next day.
But if you’ve become jaded by all these “once-a-century” convergences, you may not have noticed that as of today, we are running out of them. The turn of the century’s low-numbered years brought us a lot of pleasing numerical combinations. But now that we’re hurtling into the mid-teens, the date’s correspondence to the number of months in a year becomes more distant. There will be a 12/13/14, but no such thing on the calendar as 13/14/15.
And then what will the superstitious among us do? Have no fear, said Rajesh Bagchi, an associate professor of marketing at Virginia Tech, who studies the role numbers play in decision making. “People are always looking for the relationship between numbers,” he said. “And you can find them at any time.” Even when we run short of repeating dates or sequential dates, there are always palindromes, like 4/1/14, or less obvious sequences like 10/12/14. “In numerology, people will add up the numbers,” until they come up with a lucky number 7 or something purportedly significant.
And if that doesn’t work for you — remember, 11/13/13 will only come “once-a-century” too. As will the day after, and the day after that.