I know, you've been on the edge of your seat since 8/8/88. Now you can unlax, as my high school physics teacher used to say.
We have again hit a four-of-a-kind day -- the one, the only 9/9/99, when all possible digits for day, month and year are the same.
We won't encounter anything of the sort again until 1/1/11. If we run into 0/0/00, this Y2K business will be worse than I thought.
Anyway, today is sound-the-trumpets stuff for hunch lottery players. If you play a four-digit game today, there isn't a better choice than 9-9-9-9.
A few weeks ago, as I saw 9/9/99 coming, I decided to do a reprise of what I did in this space on 8/8/88. I published the names of all readers who turned 8 or 88 on that day. So in my column of 9/9/99, I offered to publish the names of all who turn 9 or 99 on that day.
It will surprise no one to learn that there are many more of the former than the latter. In fact, I didn't hear of a single soul who, as of today, is within 52 weeks of a second century.
But I did hear from many people who have a birthday today and want a dollop of publicity, even though they are turning something other than 9 or 99. Being exactly midway between those two numbers myself, I decided to relent.
Make a wish. Blow out those candles. Here we go with the contents of my 9/9/99 file:
Zachery Daniel Etheridge turns 9 today, reports his aunt, Dedra Swanson, of Oxon Hill. The milestone takes on greater significance because Zach weighed only two pounds at birth. "It was touchy for him for a while," says Dedra. But now Zach excels at swimming and soccer, his aunt says.
Barbara G. Weiss turns 66 today, says her husband, Dr. Harold Weiss. Even though 99 in a mirror does not give you 66 (try it -- you get a pair of sixes whose "circles" are on the wrong side), I'm happy to include Barbara just the same.
Mothers never forget, and Ralph Cornell's didn't. She's Maryanne Cornell, and she wants the world to know that her son, who lives in Indian Head, turns 43 today.
"Do not include year of birth, okay?" pleads Mary E. Thompson, of Delaplane, Va. Your secret is safe with me, Mary. Let's just say that you are looking pretty good for the birthday boomer that you are today.
How do I know about Mary's boomerhood and looks? She sent along a photocopy of her driver's license. Mary may be the first person in Virginia history whose license photo doesn't make her look as if she's dying of a rare tropical disease.
Dolores Smith is another 9/9 birthday girl, but she, too, asks not to have her age mentioned.
No such reluctance when it comes to Rachel Pafe. She turns 9 today, says Shelley Bond, whose daughter (also named Rachel) has been a day-care classmate and pal of Rachel P's since the girls were 2.
John G. Collias "was born in Fall River, Mass., on 9/9/26," reports his wife, M.J. Happy birthday, John.
Kathy Zieger had to break out an abacus for her mathematical festival. "On 9/9/99, I will turn 45 (4 plus 5 equals 9)," she writes. "I was born in '54 (5 plus 4 equals 9), one of 9 kids (7 girls and 2 boys)." Of course, Kathy graduated from high school in 1972 (7 plus 2 equals you-know-what).
More on the arithmetic front: Mary Tate turns 39 today. She notes that three is the square root of nine, which gives her special status, she claims. So does the fact that she turned 21 on 9/9/81 -- since 9 is the square root of 81.
A girl with the lovely name of Riva Neam will be 9 today, says a woman who ought to know -- her mother, Dominique.
Alexander Fithian, of Alexandria, turns 9 today. So does Tiffany Davis, of Woodbridge, the niece of Vickie Barr, of Springfield.
Natalie Towne was not ashamed to say that she'll be 78 today. Many happy returns, Natalie.
Aaron and Jay Gorman, of Gaithersburg, twins, are 13 today. So is Josh Kraegel, of Germantown, Wis., whose grandmother, Gussie Kraegel, called in the news.
Eric Allen Seum, of Arlington, is another who turns 9 today. Thanks to his father, Jack Seum, for letting me know.
Another dad weighs in: Ken Ryan, of Arlington, well remembers that Michelle Marie Ryan was born on this date in 1990.
Would a big sister "turn in" a younger sister who's 6 today? Deidra O'Brien would, and Deidra O'Brien did. Her little sis is Kate. Deidra, by the way, is an old lady of 12.
Norma J.D. Oliver was born on 9/9/32, she is willing to admit.
Lindsay Barron, of Willow Grove, Pa., joins the ranks of 9-year-olds today (thanks for the word, aunt Tracy Cliff, of Silver Spring). So does Emily Clark, of Roanoke, according to "Aunt Betty." And so does Erika Lyn Carter, of Scottsville, Va., according to her proud grandfather, Bob Lane.
Travis Mager, of Fulton, is 9 today, says his grandmother, Arlene Mager. As for more senior citizens, Timothy Patrick Malarkey, of Media, Pa., is 32 today, Barbara Rock, of Rockville, is 60 today and Peter Reigert, of Green Valley, Ariz., is 72 today (thanks to Peter's sister, Arlene Ashton).
Kimberly Davis reaches the Big 3-0 today. Congrats, Kim. Meanwhile, the winner of our Oldest Birthday Boy sweepstakes is . . .
Samuel Cohen, of Northwest Washington. His wife, Jeannette, called to say that Samuel turns 90 today.