The Heinz Birthday

(for 2/14/22, VDay, but more significantly, Elizabeth Daingerfield Zwicky’s birthday)

Swooping overhead, clever pterodactyls (EDZ’s totem animals) shriek in delight!  For it is EDZ’s Heinz Birthday:


(Heinz used to evoke steak sauce and the like, but for some time now it has come to call up warm thoughts of John Kerry for me)

Your 50th birthday (which came for EDZ a little while ago) is your Gold Birthday. And your 57th is your Heinz Birthday. Whoopee! (In fact “Whoopee once / Whoopee twice / Whoopee chicken soup / With rice!”, as EDZ’s godmother wrote to her this morning.)

Annals of misinformation. While I was rooting around to look at EDZ’s net presence, I came across a site (PeekYou) that purports to be “The Smartest Way to Find People Online”, but identifies EDZ as follows:

Elizabeth D Zwicky is 54 years old. Elizabeth lives in Columbus, Ohio. Other places in which Elizabeth has lived are Foster City, California; Menlo Park, California; Mountain View, California and San Carlos, California. Elizabeth is related to Trust Zwicky.

This is hysterically funny — it’s a kind of stew of factoid bits all jumbled together, missing several crucial ones — but also sad, and moderately alarming. Meanwhile, I’m contemplating my career as Trust Zwicky (You Can Lean On Me), for that name does indeed refer to me: I’m trustee of a fund that EDZ is the beneficiary of.

Another birthday with a name. Thinking about EDZ’s Heinz Birthday brought me to the realization that my last birthday, my 81st, was my Door Birthday. Bear with me; this is kind of devious.

It’s all about a familiar counting rhyme for kids, 1, 2, … 3, 4, … 5, 6, … 7, 8, … 9, 10, … You know the rhyme. My version does it in exponents instead of plain old sequences. It starts:

 1^2, buckle my shoe

and then comes the crucial line (which, however, exhibits considerable variation in wording, so I’ll use an X in the position of the verb):

 3^4, X the door

where X was shut in the version I learned as a child, but is open for a lot of people, hold for others, and knock at in what might be its first attested occurrence (according to Wikipedia). The verbs may change, but the door remains the same, so 3^4 (= 81) means door, and your 81st is your Door Birthday.

I am the trust man
I am the door man
I am the walrus
Goo goo g’joob

So, yes, I’ve managed to make this posting end up being all about me. But I am very glad Elizabeth was born. (The family custom is to say, not merely “Happy birthday”, but the warmer “I’m glad you were born”.)

2 Responses to “The Heinz Birthday”

  1. Eleanor Houck Says:

    Happy Birthday to EDZ . ❤️ I also celebrate Golden Birthdays, when the age and date match. And half birthdays! (We have 3 matches for exact half birthdays in our family). Just random fun.

  2. Mark Mandel Says:

    My wife and I were born on the same day of the month, in different months and years. Our children were not… except that in the Jewish calendar (and we are Jewish) they WERE, the same day of the month as Rene and I.

Leave a Reply


%d bloggers like this: