Eclipsing the big event

Every so often an impending happening catches the imagination of the public because of its extreme rarity. And just such an occurrence, which has a large swath of America quivering with anticipation, is scheduled to take place this coming week.

Of course I’m referring to this Saturday, because it’s one of the rarest of rarities: a Perfect Multiple Day (PMD)!

April 6, 2024, when abbreviated in numeric shorthand, is 4-6-24. This Saturday the number of the month (4) multiplied by the number of the date (6) yields a product that is the last two numbers of the year (24). It goes without saying that this sort of situation doesn’t arise every day. It hasn’t happened since way back, well, last month, on March 8th. But before that it hadn’t occurred since…..February 12th. And one other time this year, on January 24th.

Currently a first glance at PMDs may seem somewhat underwhelming, particularly since there will be three more such days this year, on June 4th, August 3rd, and December 2nd. But those pooh-poohing the significance of PMDs should acknowledge that 2024 is the only 21st century year that will contain as many as seven such days. In fact, only six other years contain even a half-dozen of them: 2012, 2030, 2036, 2048, 2060, and 2072.

Now consider that 23 21st-century years have just one PMD in them (2098, 2095, 2093, 2092, 2091, 2087, 2085, 2076, 2069, 2068, 2065, 2057, 2051, 2049, 2046, 2039, 2038, 2034, 2029, 2023, 2019, 2017, 2013), and 21 more (2037, 2041, 2043, 2047, 2053, 2058, 2059, 2061, 2062, 2067, 2071, 2073, 2074, 2079, 2082, 2083, 2086, 2089, 2094, 2097 and 2100) contain none at all!

The 21st century will ultimately encompass 36524 days, but only 211 of them are PMDs. That’s just 0.57770233271 percent of the century’s days. PMDs might not be as rare as Detroit Lions Super Bowl appearances, but they’re certainly close.

Actors Gene Hackman (January 30, 1930), Shelley Duvall (July 7, 1949), and Kurt Russell (March 17, 1951) were all born on a PMD. So were accomplished musicians Toni Tennille (May 8, 1940) and Neil Sedaka (March 13, 1939), as well as former Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte (August 8, 1964).

Some no-longer-extant notables born on a PMD include former United States secretary of state and White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig (December 2, 1924), Baseball Hall of Fame member Ernie Banks (January 31, 1931); authors Leon Uris (August 3, 1924), Arthur Hailey (April 5, 1920) and Peter Benchley (May 8, 1940); actors Dennis Weaver (June 4, 1924), and DeForest Kelley (January 20, 1920); singer Ricky Nelson (yet another May 8, 1940 baby), and lawyer/sire of celebrities who are famous for being famous Robert Kardashian (February 22, 1944).

I for one feel awfully lucky to be alive during the most PMD-heavy year of the 21st century. And even if these dates do occur slightly more often than other relatively rare events, there’s no doubt that PMDs are a lot more exciting than other commonplace, more ordinary things people make a big deal over every so often.

So what is there to learn from doing all this research into PMDs? Not much, aside from the fact that if one wished to bear a child that would become accomplished in their field(s) of choice, May 8, 1940 was a good day to do it. (And for those looking ahead, the same will likely apply to May 8, 2040.)

But by now any sensible person should admit that PMDs are far more interesting than mundane occurrences like Halley’s Comet sightings, worldwide pandemics, or solar eclipses.

Andy Young
April 5, 2024

Return to main page
Font size: