March 14, 2009

And on the 14th day, God created Pi

Hey, happy Pi Day.

Today is the 14th day of March. 3/14. Similar to 3.14. Pi (or at least the first three digits thereof). I never noticed that similarity before this week, until several people at my office became inexplicably excited about it and declared a celebration of it yesterday (Friday). And the celebration involved, of course, pie.

Apple pie, key lime pie, chocolate banana pie, several others I didn't peer at too closely, all available for consumption in the common area of the art department. I had none of it. I hate pie, can't stand it. I will not eat cooked fruit. Trust me, I've given all of them adequate opportunity, summoned up my patriotic pride to dig into a hearty slice of old-fashioned apple pie, and it just makes me gag. Apples are beautiful, ingenious works of nature; do not despoil them by applying heat, I beg of you.

Meanwhile, there was at least one savory pie—a Frito pie, smeared with chili and bursting out of the chip bag like a hideous monster in a Stephen King adaptation. This was not for me either; I have always compared the taste of Fritos with the smell of rotten flowers. I got an imagination.

There is one kind of pie I remember enjoying greatly: Hostess Pudding Pies (no longer available, alas).

Actually, now that I see this ad again, and the flavor creeps back into my memory…eh, these were kind of disgusting too. No pie for me. (And yes, you could make a dirty joke here, but I'd appreciate a little originality, thank you).

As for the numbers: Celebrating Pi Day is cute, but it doesn't seem all that special, since 3/14 comes every single year. (I pointed out to someone that the coincidence will be far more potent in six years: 3/14/15.) I was reminded of 9/9/99, the 28th birthday of a good friend, who was especially excited about numerological confluence. Or 8/8/88, when I read in People magazine (one of the few times I ever opened it, I swear) about a large parade in a small Midwestern town called 88. Or, my favorite…

I was listening to the radio on a June day 20 years ago. During the hourly news brief, the announcer stated, "And in a little more than 20 minutes, there will be an amazing occurrence. It will be 1:23 and 45 seconds on June 7, 1989. 1:23:45 on 6/7/89."

I failed to see what was "amazing" about this, but I did not fail to see what was neat. I was in school, and when the moment arrived, my friends and I cheered. And that was it. But I had the distinct feeling that I had lived through and witnessed something that literally comes only once in a lifetime. That happenstance—whatever it means, possibly nothing—would never come back again, at least not till I'm dead and gone from this world. I would live on—adventures, heartaches, successes, battles—and never return to this very point. I was still very young, but for the first time, I felt the weight of time's inexorable passing.

I'm a lot older now. So this makes me depressed. I wish I had some pie.