March 13. It’s not my birthday, not even close. Just seems like any other date on the calendar. Until today, it had never held any special significance for me…but now, I’m always going to think of it as the day the universe picked out to, well, make sure I had a lot of happy memories throughout my life.
Case in point, thanks to Facebook, I found out that today is the 77th anniversary of the founding of the Navy’s cryptologic community. I know that one of the luckiest days of my life was the day I got to become a Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive), instead of an undesignated Seaman, bound for the next deploying ship, mop and bucket in hand. Because of that one event, I got to:
- meet my wife,
- travel the world,
- fly in jets off carriers,
- learn three languages,
- become an instructor, which I LOVE doing, and
- basically, have a whole lot of fun and see things, go places, do things, that I never would’ve been able to do, even if I had managed to graduate from the Naval Academy.
I’m lucky…and I got all those opportunities because, 77 years ago, the Navy created the Communications Security Group, later renamed the Naval Security Group. So thank you, Navy, for everything.
I don’t normally read the tiny “Day in History” square in the free Metro paper on the DC subway…but today I did. And that’s when I found out that today, back in 1781, the planet Uranus was discovered by Sir William Herschel. Uranus has always fascinated me, for a variety of reasons. It’s the first planet discovered using telescopes; Saturn and the rest of the more inward planets are all visible to the naked eye. It spins on its side, possibly because of a great whacking by a comet, which is just cool. Even its name is cool: the Latinized version of Ouranos, Greek god of the sky and father of the Titans, it appeals to my love of obscure mythology. An odd metal, discovered about the same time, was named uranium in honor of the planet’s discovery. And, of course, the pun inherent in the name also appeals to the crude sense of humor that my inner child revels in.
Speaking of crude humor for “yoots“, the movie My Cousin Vinny opened in theaters on March 13, 1992. God, what a funny movie…easily in my Top Ten Comedies of All Time. So, so many quotable lines–“And that’s when he said it again, ‘I shot the clerk'” “No, it’s VERY strange…that train normally comes by at FOUR a.m.” “Oh yeah…you blend!”–you can’t go a month without using some line from that movie. Can you think of other, 20-year-old movies with that effect? Thanks for the memories, Oscar winners Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei.
According to “the Facebook,” today’s another important date for me: 30 years since the band, They Might Be Giants, was formed. These guys have been absolutely amazing for three whole decades. I remember seeing “Put Your Hand Inside the Puppet Head” way back when, when MTV actually used to show music videos. It’s because of TMBG that I started watching “120 Seconds” and discovered a whole lot of cool (well, cool to ME) music…one person quoted for the article described them as a “gateway drug to alternative rock.” Decades later, I can still sing along to “Istanbul…Not Constantinople” or “I Palindrome I”. In recent years, they’ve applied their catchy, quirky sound to children’s songs…but intelligent, smart, FUN children’s songs, the kind that Schoolhouse Rock wants to be when it grows up. I defy anyone to watch “Meet the Elements” and not be equal parts amused, entertained, and informed.
So a lot of good things–strangely, weirdly, specifically for me–came about on this day. Thanks, universe, thanks a lot (and I didn’t even get you anything!).
Oh…and it’s Dana Delany‘s birthday too.