This post is for people who have already grown as old as they want to be. As a result they don’t react as positively to questions about their age as the five-year old in the poem and sometimes can become extremely glum.
Some people seem to go actively looking for this kind of reaction. They can then express their own glumness and start up a real glumfest. You can see walking glumfests every day on the streets, usually made up of two people so deeply enveloped in their dissatisfaction that they pay no attention to the world around them. If they did they might notice an interesting fact: the world is not really base-10.
We have fallen into the habit of counting things in tens. Perhaps because we have ten fingers – (although two of them are really weird). But there are lots of other possibilities. There are very few things in nature which actually divide into ten. Also we generally don’t use base-10 for anything to do with time. There were 10-day weeks in China and Ancient Egypt and the decimalist maniacs in the French Revolution also tried to introduce a 10 hour, 100 minute day, but most of us are used to 60 seconds, 60 minutes, 24 hours, 7 days and so on. So why is it that whenever we reach a multiple of ten in our age we feel it is a defining moment ? It is almost as if you become a different person when you reach 30, 40, 50 etc.
I think I have had an insight and I am going to share it with you: I believe our real ages are expressed using base-12 arithmetic. If you can’t remember what base-12 arithmetic is read this.
Let me demonstrate how this works. I am going to take the example of someone aged 49, say. Ask them what their age is. Inform them that, using base-12 arithmetic, they are actually 41 and going on 42. I’ve found that, more often than not, people will react by saying, “That is the age I ought to be.” (Apart from a handful of people who believe they should always be 18).
Here are some examples of base-10 and base-12 ages
Some of you may have encountered a problem: what do you do after you reach the digit 9 ? For example if 39 (base-12) is equal to 45 (base-10) because it’s equal to (3×12)+9, what is the next base-12 number? It is not 40, because 40 is 48 (4×12). Usually in base-12 arithmetic, 10 and 11 are represented bythe letters A and B. So the sequence in the case I mentioned would be 39 3A 3B 40 (45,46,47,48).
However saying you are 3A years old doesn’t sound like anything at all. I have thought about this and, in consideration of the fact that transition to a duodecade will be just as traumatic as transition to the next decade, I have come up with the following solution.
When you get to 39 base-12, you stay on 39 for the next three years. This will give you enough time to prepare properly for transition to the next duodecade.
To make this formula work. Apply it every night for a month before going to bed.
(Warning: do not try this on your 11-year olds. They will be most upset to discover they are now 9 again and will only be 10 next year).
I have shared this with you free of charge because I couldn’t think of any way of selling it to you, although. learning from other Internet entrepreneurs, I think I might produce something called Sideways Anti-aging Pro. This will be exactly the same as the free version, but you will have the privilege of paying money for it.
So provide me with money or buy my book at Lulu.com and I will arrange to send you a sticker or a signed certificate. This is all negotiable.
However, I am also developing what I think will be a marketable product.
It will be based on the mathematical constant pi, which has fascinated people through the ages.
Basically it is, as you all know, the ratio between the circumference of a circle and its diameter.
This number cannot be expressed finitely using the decimal (or the duodecimal) system of notation.
So you could say that it goes on for ever, without repeating itself.
I thought that we could sell it as a life-extending, alternative medicine, with the following slogan: “Pi, the number that goes on forever: so can you !”.
I was thinking of putting the sequence on rice paper (with the numbers tapering off, becoming smaller and smaller), so that one could swallow it. It would look a bit like this:
Of course, we can’t offer you eternal life, because since pi goes on forever , there is no way you would have time to swallow it all in your own lifetime, however small we printed its numbers. So we will have to stop at a few million figures and call it Pi extract.
Notwithstanding this little hitch, I think that, with effective marketing, we could make it a real success. After all, throughout history people have been willing to take all kinds of weird concoctions to achieve longevity. And pi is a concept which intrigues a great many people. For example, I found a page entitled “We are in digits of Pi and live forever” produced by a gentleman who writes:
“Pi is a transcendental number…
It is a never-ending, patternless sequence of digits.Somewhere inside the digits of pi is a representation for all of us —
the atomic coordinates of all our atoms, our genetic code, all our thoughts, all our memories.
Given this fact, all of us
are alive, and hopefully happy, in
pi. Pi makes us live forever. We all lead virtual lives in pi. We are
He also asks us to note that he has written a book on this subject in which he also explains “how our thoughts reside in the vibrational patterns of a cube of Jello.”
(This is a concept which I am not quite ready for yet, so I will add nothing about it.)
I also think we could do a better job than the example above, which was baked at Delft University to mark Pi Day , generally celebrated on 14 March, according to the rather illogical 2nd-things-first style used in America (3.14). If one used the European system which arranges dates into day-month-year format (small-medium-big), Pi day would fall on 31 April, which has interesting mathematical properties of its own, in that it doesn’t actually exist.
If you have found this all hard to follow, make sure to miss my next Mythematical post, which will be entitled Binarise ! How to count to a million on your fingers (without using Viagra).