Musa Publishing is celebrating its anniversary—it’s one year old. Yay! Hope there’s many more.
While I was thinking about this, I recalled how wedding anniversaries have certain gift themes based on the number of years the couple has been married. I went ahead and checked these, and was kind of amused. First off, the one year gift is paper—so sort of ironic for an ebook publisher. They not surprisingly get nicer and more expensive with advancing years—three is leather, eight is bronze, fifteen is crystal, twenty-five is silver, fifty is gold, and sixty and seventy-five are diamond. (If you’re curious, most sources list a theme gift for years 1-15, and every five years thereafter.) I was struck by the datedness (and non-P.C.-ness) of fourteen, though—it’s ivory. So if you’re a stickler for tradition and want to buy your friends something new, you might have to break international laws. Also, once past seventy-five the list reverses course and gets cheaper again. Eighty is oak (!), and eighty-five is wine (I realize that some wines are expensive, but still, probably cheaper than gold, platinum, and diamonds, right?). But I guess that’s okay, as according to my research only eight couples have been confirmed as reaching eighty-five years together or more. More to the point, does anyone, aside from Emily Post’s family, actually follow these? In case you were wondering, the record confirmed longest marriage was 91 years, for Daniel Frederick Bakeman and Susan (nee Brewer), 1722-1863, in NY, U.S.A. Although Karam and Kartari Chand of
are hot on their tail, at nearly 88 years and counting. One final anecdote—a friend of mine celebrated his second anniversary by giving his wife a .45 Magnum (which she loved). We teased them by saying that the appropriate second anniversary gift is a crossbow, not a firearm. * Bradford, England
When the number of years for an anniversary gets really large (like for companies, or countries), the names can get unwieldy. Sure, centennial and bicentennial roll right off the tongue, but some of the others are obscure and awkward to say. Like 175 years—dodransbicentennial, or 350—sequarcentennial. And my new favorite, obvious but funny—600 years is sexcentennial.
Moving on, for another type of anniversary, birthdays, I must admit I find the recent tradition of celebrating half-birthdays kind of dumb. Where does that end? Quarter birthdays? One-twelth birthdays? One-365.25th birthdays? Also, to technically be a half-birthday it’s not simply adding six months to the day, since months are different lengths. To be accurate a person should add 182.5 (or 183 in a leap year) to their actual birth date.
Speaking of leap years, it must be awkward in cases when birthdays or anniversaries fall on February 29th. Sure, you can celebrate on February 28th, or March 1st, but it must be a little frustrating to actually have the official day only come once every four years, your version of the Olympics, I guess. I looked it up to see if there were any really famous events on leap day, and there weren’t too many of worldwide importance. Similarly, there are not many huge historical figures or “A” list celebrities who were born then. Here’s a very partial list of some notables.
1468—Pope Paul III.
1896—Morarji Desai, prime minister of
. Dinah Shore
1928—Vance Haynes, famous archaeologist.
1944—Dennis Farina, actor.
1948—Ken Foree—actor, “Peter” from “Dawn of the Dead.”
1956—Aileen Wuornos, female serial killer.
Furthermore, a pet peeve of mine, as a beer aficionado, is
breweries’ failure to acknowledge Prohibition on their labels (for ones that existed prior to 1920, clearly). It’s always something like, “Brewing up the best beer ever since 1890” or whatever, not mentioning that from 1920-33 if they were still in business they were producing ice cream, soda, near-beer, chemical dyes, etc. instead. Admittedly, this would make for a lengthy, strange, label, but the historic purist in me is bugged by this. U.S.
One more bit of birthday trivia—the oldest authenticated person ever was a French woman named Jeanne Calment, who reached the age of 122 years, 164 days (1875-1997).
Hopefully Musa Publishing will challenge Ms. Calment’s lifespan.
* We were kidding—it’s actually cotton, but that’s not as funny, or dangerous.