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Click here to see a La Crosse Tribune article about the mission in Uganda.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Numbering My Days

An engineer thinks that his equations are an approximation of reality.
A physicist thinks reality is an approximation of his equations.
A mathematician doesn't care.

Meaning, of course, that physicists are arrogant while we engineers are a humble, hard working lot. And the mathematicians? They just like playing with numbers.

I can identify with that, as I use a lot of math in my day-to-day work. And while I find it a challenge to represent the mysteries of the little bit of our world that I work on in the language of math, I'm not into mystical side of numbers - numerology. I have no lucky numbers and don’t attribute goings on around me to alignment of digits in a particular sequence.

Of course, as with any good rule, there is an exception. So I guess it is time to lay it all out and explain some things I know you are all waiting to have explained. You may have noticed that my online identity (in some instances) contains the digits "63." That, I must admit, was not a random assignment by AOL, but rather, a conscious decision on my part. You see, 63 does, if nothing else, bring back a cartload of memories for me.

It started in high school. While a sophomore, I went out for the football team and was given jersey number 63, one I wore for three years. Here is proof that this was actually the case:

OK. Any more snickering and you'll have to leave. Anyway, you might imagine that a guy in high school would get attached to his football number. And you'd be right, up to a point. But it was more than that. During my years as a Ramblin' Wreck at Georgia Tech, the military draft was cranked up and everyone was assigned a draft lottery number based on their birthday. And mine, September 20, was selected 63rd.

Sure, that was interesting. But it did not stop there. I graduated in 1970 and the Blueprint, Tech's yearbook, came out as Volume 63. See…

So this was enough to firmly plant the number 63 into my identity. And while I used it mostly in numbers I wanted to be easy to remember (no, it is not in my passwords, so you can stop trying), others saw maybe a bit more significance. Here is a gift I got one year from my mother…

In spite of my nonchalance over the coincidences, she was able to find "63" somewhere whenever we were together.

There you have it, I've come clean on numbers. And as you might imagine I see this year as nothing special. I don’t even know which was the 63rd day of the year. I did turn 63 in September, though and I still remember that!

But I'm thinking, if the Powerball jackpot hits $63 million before the end of the year, I might just have to go out and buy myself some tickets.