35 Candles

35 is the number of ways that three things can be selected from a set of seven unique things. 35mm film is the basic film gauge most commonly used for both analog photography and motion pictures. 35 is also the licence plate code for Turkey and 3 and 5 are both odd prime numbers. So, today – my birthday – I have a lot in common with some very mathematical and strategic things.

This fills my heart with large amounts of glee as I myself am somewhat of a doyenne of mathematics. I dropped that ridiculous subject at the end of Standard 7 (Grade 9) and would personally like to give William Seward Burroughs a big smooch and a hug for inventing the calculator! He can stay.

Picture 152

Despite some mathematical flounders, I still have enough to celebrate from 12 775 days of presence on this floating enigma called earth. Not all, but mostly good. At an average of 50 000 thoughts per day (obviously I’ve had much, much more), my mathematical genius tells me that 638 750 000 lifetime-thoughts is something to be in awe of. Imagine documenting each one?! What will happen on Santa Barbara tonight? Why do we have to put petrol in our cars? Where the fark did Julius Malema come from and why is he so annoying?

Thoughts are a reflection of what’s important to you at any given time. When I was 9 and was late for my performance as the Little Drummer Boy in our school recital, my mother contorted herself to slap my obnoxiousness into next week because I wouldn’t shut up about how late we were and how important the Little Drummer Boy actually is to the play about a Little Drummer Boy. In the grand scheme of things, what was I thinking? But as a 9 year old boy? Pretty on point really…

Ergo, what are any of us thinking, when we’re not thinking?

We didn’t take out a young pedestrian or an octogenarian en route. What we did was get to the school and into the changing rooms with no time to spare, suit me up and get me onto that little stage to deliver my life-changing, method-acting beating of a drum. So if an emergency like ours can be met with accomplishment and real-life ability to cope, then who was shit-stick local government and housing MEC Humphrey Mmemezi to put Thomas Ferreira into a coma back in 2011, because of a blue light emergency idiot-storm that pushed in front of everybody else on the highway?

What were they thinking?

They have birthdays. They love people. They know people who love them. Who knows, they may even have been the little drummer boy (or girl) in a school play when they were younger?! I’m no mathematician, but I’m still glad that over 12 775 days, I’ve never lost the plot (too badly) to do things for intended utter selfishness that disenchants and hurts others permanently. So when Humphrey, Jeffrey Dahmer, Julius Malema, Moses Sithole, Reinhard Heydrich, Saddam Hussein, Robert Mugabe, Ivan the Terrible, Idi Amin, Ted Bundy, Eugene Terr’Blanche – the list is long – when any of these homo sapiens had birthdays and thought back on their lives and the thoughts and actions they’ve had, did/do they remember it as fondly? Probably. But that’s because they’re all selfish idiots with no conscience about their actions or their bearing on anyone else but themselves.

I can be selfish. I can be generous. I can be inconsiderate and I can also give of myself too much. I am a good person with a big heart and I have a more moral fibre and accolades that make my one in seven billion’s life, something that says, does and makes a difference. There are lots of people like me who are proud to be here.

Are you?

Let’s get together!

It’s my birthday and I’ll cry (happiness) if I want to.

© Dylan Balkind

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