Saturday, October 30, 2010

I love you, you love me, we’re as happy as can be.

Around the time of the next vernal equinox, I will be celebrating having lived 70 years on this earth, if I live until then. In the relatively short time span of 70 years (and it is short when you take into consideration all the time that passed before my arrival), earth has seen:

15 major wars:
World War II (1939-1945)
French Indo-China War (1945-1954)
Chinese Civil War (1945-1949)
Korean War (1950-1953)
French-Algerian War (1954-1962)
First Sudanese Civil War (1956-1972)
Arab-Israeli War (1947-1949) (1956) (1967) (1968-1970) (1973) (1982) (2006) (ongoing, with occasional pauses)
Biafran War (1967-1970)
Vietnam War (1965-1973)
Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988)
Russian-Afghanistan War (1980-1989)
Persian Gulf War (1990-1991)
Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005)
Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003 - 2010)
Afghanistan (2001 - present)

and I didn’t even mention apparently minor ones like the disagreements between India and Pakistan over the partitioning of the sub-continent in 1947 or the United Kingdom’s little tête à tête with Argentina over the Falkland Islands in 1982 or Ronald Reagan’s two-month adventure in the Caribbean island nation of Grenada in 1983 or the first George Bush’s confrontation with Manuel Noriega in Panama in 1989-1990 or the Rwandan Genocide in which between 800,000 and 1,000,000 Tutsi people were killed by the Hutu in 1994. The list could be quite a bit longer if only I (a) had more time to do research and (b) knew what “major” means.

13 Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom:
Winston Churchill (twice)
Clement Atlee
Anthony Eden
Harold Macmillan
Alec Douglas-Home
Harold Wilson (twice)
Edward Heath
James Callaghan
Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Tony Blair
Gordon Brown
David Cameron

13 Presidents of the United States:
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S Truman
Dwight D. Eisenhower
John F. Kennedy
Lyndon B. Johnson
Richard M. Nixon
Gerald Ford
Jimmy Carter
Ronald Reagan
George H. W. Bush
Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Barack Obama

8 Secretaries-General of the United Nations:
Trygvie Lie
Dag Hammarskjöld
U Thant
Kurt Waldheim
Boutrous Boutros-Ghali
Javier Pérez de Cuéllar
Kofi Annan
Ban-ki Moon

7 Chief Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court:
Charles Evans Hughes
Harlan Fiske Stone
Fred M. Vinson
Earl Warren
Warren E. Burger
William Rehnquist
John G. Roberts

6 Popes of the Roman Catholic Church:
Pius XII
Paul VI
John Paul I
John Paul II
Benedict XVI

6 (or thereabouts) Leaders of China:
Chiang Kai-shek
Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-tung)
Zhou Enlai (Chou Enlai)
Deng Xiaoping
Zhao Ziyang
Jiang Zemin

3 Queens of The Netherlands:

2 Emperors of Japan:

2 British Monarchs:
George VI
Elizabeth II

1 Dalai Lama:
Tenzing Gyatso

and a partridge in a pear tree 1 Me.

I would bet dollars to doughnuts there’s been only 1 You too.

Aren’t we special?

According to both the late Mr. Fred Rogers and Barney (who, Wikipedia says, is a purple anthropomorphic Tyrannosaurus rex who conveys learning through songs and small dance routines with a friendly, optimistic attitude), we are.

If you do not like to think of yourself as special (and I’m given to understand that some people don’t), consider this:

You and I are at least as special as the Dalai Lama.

We may not be as highly regarded, but that is a topic for another day.


  1. and one mormon friend from utah

  2. I enjoyed your post, RWP. I like lists of things. I'm a bit older than you (I was in the first grade when you were born), but our remembrances of world affairs are much the same.

  3. Well, you are véry special!
    I'm just special ;-)

    Isn't that list of wars a very sad list?

  4. Remember, you are unique. Just like everyone else!

  5. I understand that Warren E. Burger was a promising student when he was at high school though his drama teacher considered him a ham actor.

  6. That is quite a lot of milestones.

    It would be interesting to see some of the cultural ones as well: Pulitzer Prizes, Academy Awards, Nobel Peace Prizes, World Cups, etc. etc.

    Thanks for inviting me to read this.

  7. Is being special a good thing, necessarily. Also, If everyone is special, then it would seem, to this reader, to detract somewhat from the meaning of the word. After all, if everyone is special, then specialness isn't noteworthy. It doesn't imply extraordinary skills, talents, or effort; it's merely a function of being alive. Or I am being too left-brain when what is called for is a warm and fuzzy attitude?

    You are nine years older than I, but I'm only one war and one president behind you. You truly deserve better than that, my friend.

  8. Yes, I left out a ? and no telling what else, but I'll stop reading right about there.

  9. Oh, I LIKE what Carolina wrote. Yes, Rhymes, you ARE véry special indeed if not extremely véry special.