Many years ago the phrase "life begins at 40" was in vogue; a vain attempt to paddle down the river of Denial with Cleopatra and Mark Anthony.
Now I hear such phrases as "60 is the new 50", 80 is the new 70 and other such numbers in vain attempts to deny one is old.
Admit it, 40 is middle age. Americans believe middle age doesn't start until 55 and then extends through 92. So if you are 55 and still claim to be middle age you must expect to live to 110.
Forty is the only number in English whose letters appear in alphabetical order. I didn't know that. I can't think of any other number at this moment. However, no one ever accused me to being intelligent or bright or smart or anything such as that.
Minus 40 degrees, or "40 below" is the only temperature that is the same in both Fahrenheit and Celsius. Is that significant? I tried to insert that knowledge into a conversation this week with Elzy Thoke and Audley Cadge and all I got was a blank stare.
When the Bubonic Plague gripped Europe during the Middle Ages, ships would be isolated in harbor for 40 days before passengers could go ashore. The Italian word for 40 is quaranta -- hence quarantine.
Forty is the maximum number of players a Major League Baseball team can sign to its roster at once.
Forget "nine months'; a typical pregnancy lasts 40 weeks. How do we know that? Nine months equals approximately 36 weeks if my ciphering skills have not diminished since I matriculated from Calvertville Elementary School Accelerated Academy and Tattooing. What is going on in that other month?
It took chemists 40 attempts to develop the magical spray we know as...wait for it...WD-40 (full name Water Displacement, 40th formula).
In literature, 40 is the number of thieves Ali Baba clashes with in Arabian Nights.
Also, 40 is the number of winks Dr. William Kitchiner suggests taking for a perfect nap.
In religion, 40 seems to be shorthand for "a long time". Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness being tempted by the devil; the great rain that caused the antediluvian flood lasted 40 days and 40 nights; the Jewish people wandered in the desert for 40 years.
There are 40 spaces on a standard Monopoly board, proving that life is a gamble, the game gives players equal odds (one in 40) of going directly to jail or winning the Free Parking lottery. A warning. A word to the wise. Don't play monopoly with the Buckaroo, our youngest granddaughter. She is ten but in monopoly lore "10 is the new 45." I would take her in a match with Boris Spassky in his prime. She will not loan you any money and if you try to buy a property from her she has one response, "Sure, but it will cost you all of your money." Vicious. Vicious I tell you. I have never defeated her. You have been warned.
Larry Vandeventer. Go to my website -- Larryvandeventer.com -- and purchase my books. I grew up North of Calvertville and Graduated from Worthington High School and Indiana State. Contact me at Goosecrick@aol.com or 317-839-7656.