[41 is] the smallest integer whose reciprocal has a 5-digit repetend. That is a consequence of the fact that 41 is a factor of 99999. — Wikipedia
I don’t understand a lot of things, these days. I don’t understand what a 5-digit repetend is, or why 41 being a factor of 99999 has to do with anything. I don’t understand how much all this has changed in the last thirteen years of posts. I don’t understand when building web stuff got hard. I don’t understand why I can’t find anyone who sells wall lights that look nice without charging a hundred notes for each one, which is a bit steep when you need six. I don’t understand why I can’t get thinner and still eat as many sandwiches as I want. I don’t understand an awful lot of why the world suddenly became a terrible, frightening, mean-spirited, mocking, vitriolic place. And most of what I do understand about that, I hate.
We all sorta thought that we were moving forward; there was less hatred of the Other, fewer knives out, not as much fear and spite as there used to be. And it turns out that it wasn’t gone; it was just suppressed, building up and up underneath the volcano cap until the bad guys realised that there’s nothing actually stopping them doing terrible things and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. So the Tories moved from daring to talk about shutting down the NHS to actually doing it and nobody said anything. Or, more accurately, a bunch of people said things and it didn’t make any difference. Trump starts restricting immigration and targeting Muslims directly and puts a Nazi adviser on the National Security Council and nobody said anything. Or, more accurately, a bunch of people said things and it didn’t make any difference. I don’t want to give in to hatred — it leads to the Dark Side — and so I don’t want to hate them for doing this. But I do hate that I have to fight to avoid it. I hate that I feel so helpless. I hate that the only way I know to fight back is to actually fight — to become them. I hate that they turn everyone into malign, terrible copies of themselves. I hate that they don’t understand. I hate that I don’t understand. I hate that I just hate all the time now.
I’m forty-one. Apparently, according to Wikipedia, the US Navy Fleet Ballistic Missile nuclear submarines from the George Washington, Ethan Allen, Lafayette, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin classes were nicknamed “41 for Freedom“. 41 for freedom. Maybe that’s not a bad motto for me, being 41. Do more for freedom. My freedom, my family’s freedom, my friends’ freedom, my city’s freedom, people I’ve never met and never will’s freedom. None of us are free if one of us is chained, and if you don’t say it’s wrong then that says it right.
Two photos from today.
One is of Niamh, and her present to me for my birthday: a light box like the ones you get outside cinemas and churches and fast food places and we can put messages for one another on it. I’m hugely pleased with it. The other is of today’s anti-Trump demo in Victoria Square, at which Reverend David Butterworth, of the Methodist Church, said: “Whatever we can do to make this a more peaceful city and a more inclusive city, and to stand up and be counted, we must and should do it together. The only way that Donald Trump will win is if the good people of Birmingham, and of other cities that we’re twinned with like Chicago, stay silent.” People standing up, and a demonstration of what they’re standing up for. Not a bad way to start making me being 41 for freedom, perhaps.
Happy birthday to me. And for those of you less lucky than me today: I hope we can help.