The Sum of Primes

by Julianna Squicciarini

Many of you are well aware that my brother and I share a unique love of mathematics. We enjoy twisting our brains into 4D pretzels in the pursuit of the solution to a particularly stumping puzzle. I think Peter does long division and algebra in his sleep; I have been known to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit on my way to the land of dreams.

Many of you might also be aware that Peter and I have birthdays within two days of each other (June 7 and June 9). Out of the 19 years we’ve both been alive, I’d say over half of them have been celebrated in conjunction with each other. Just check out last year’s post on our epic birthday party – what fun THAT was.

This year, Peter and I discovered that we were both turning prime numbers – 19 and 23. Prime numbers are those that can only be divided by 1 and themselves, for the uninitiated. Like 5, 7, 13, and 17. They get fewer and more far between as one climbs the number line, and there is no rhyme or reason to their placement. There are whole computer programs and geek clubs dedicated to the search for more prime numbers.

Recognizing the special primeness of our numbers, we decided to do a number-focused celebration. We added our ages together, got 42, and decided to do 42 things we’d never done in our lives before.

They are as follows:

  1. Make a recipe we’ve never made before. [breakfast: toast topped with peanut butter, sautéed bananas, and turkey sausage]
  2. Listen to a song we’ve never heard before. [Julia by Mad Buffalo – totally random hit on iTunes]
  3. Make a new tea. [basil oregano]
  4. Dangle our arms/hands in the pool, instead of our feet.
  5. Recite a Bible verse backwards. [John 3:16]
  6. Learn a new word [mignon: small and pretty; delicately pretty]
  7. Learn something new from Wikipedia. [the Pitstop Ploughshares were a group of 5 members of the Catholic Worker Movement who used Isaiah 2:4 as impetus to damage a C-40 in 2003. they spent 4-11 months in Limerick Prison. we call that poetic justice.]
  8. Eat a spoonful of cinnamon. [spicy dust]
  9. Draw a picture together. [half and half – we did a sailboat with trees]
  10. Take a shot of balsamic vinegar. [BURN]
  11. Play a song on the piano neither of us have ever played before. [hard to find, but doable – we chose Bach’s Toccata in D Major]
  12. Read a children’s book upside down. [Handy Dandy Helpful Hal]
  13. Learn and play a new game. [Breakfast Combo, anyone?]
  14. Memorize a verse from Psalm 42. [“As the deer pants for streams of water, so pants my soul for You, O G-d.” – Ps. 42:1]
  15. Write a letter to the president. [President Obama is currently still in office.]
  16. Make up a catch-phrase and use it 4 times in public. [Green spleen, save me Irene!]
  17. Drive a road we haven’t driven before. [Gander Cove Road]
  18. Wear something we haven’t worn before. [we wanted socks with toes, but ended up with rubber water shoes with toe indentations]
  19. Try on a child’s clothing item. [we are certainly not children anymore, Toto]
  20. Read a new book. [for the sake of time, we chose “Biscuit and the Little Pup” – not recommended]
  21. Leave a note in a book. [we left a warning for the future potential buyers of Biscuit]
  22. Use a payphone. [it now costs 50 cents to make a 3-minute call]
  23. Call a new number we’ve never called before. [we asked for Julie Peterson. she wasn’t there]
  24. Wear a fake nose. [we picked gray mouse noses made of styrofoam and wore them for 30 minutes, including some time walking around Earth Fare in the SouthPark area]
  25. Buy $0.42 cents of gas. [that is 0.113 gallons in Charlotte, NC]
  26. Hug someone new. [people in Earth Fare asked to take our picture with our mouse noses, so we got hugs out of that sweet deal]
  27. Eat something we’ve never eaten before. [I would strongly urge you to never eat Pirate’s Booty, especially the Aged White Cheddar variety]
  28. Drink something we’ve never drunk before. [we looked for the Earth Fare fermented mushroom drink, but it doesn’t appear to have been popular enough. we had fermented fruit juice, instead, which did not taste fermented]
  29. High five a cashier. [women with tattoos up their arms are very likely to respond well to that one]
  30. Apply for a job. [odd that, with our economic slump, we have never needed to do this before…]
  31. Visit a place we’ve never been before. [The Laughing Buddha yoga studio, while convenient, was admittedly not the best choice]
  32. Donate canned food. [two cans of canned food have undoubtedly found their way into the home or stomach of a needy person by now]
  33. Play a new instrument. [Peter did the electric bass, I did the mandolin]
  34. Protest the “homeless” who make more than minimum wage by parasitizing off hard-working taxpayers. [cardboard. signage. enough said.]
  35. Meet someone new. [we introduced ourselves to Holly. she’s blonde.]
  36. Go to Sonic. [the place with the rollerskating waiters/waitresses? yeah. they didn’t skate our food out to us. we feel cheated.]
  37. Give someone flowers. [we gave them to Holly. she’s blonde. she didn’t really want to take them]
  38. Feed the birds (or a bird). [kind of sort of copped out on that one… but I’m almost positive a bird got some food from us]
  39. Plug an air freshener in at Starbucks. [vanilla passion]
  40. Leave the change of a large bill to be applied to the purchases of the people behind you in line at Starbucks. [I think, with inflation, it lasted for 3 people]
  41. Plant a new plant. [we picked out a begonia – pink]
  42. Bury a time capsule. [to be retrieved when we are prime once more, at 37 and 41, June 2030]

It was a really great birthday. You’d be amazed at the feeling you get after doing over 40 things you’ve never done before, all within about 6 hours.


Happy birthday to us!


One thought on “The Sum of Primes

  1. Pingback: two celebrate | with this ring

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