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12/12/12 birthday seems extra special for local boy

Tuesday, December 11, 2012
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Sean McDonald, who turns 12 today, 12/12/12, plays Xbox at his home in Charlton last week.
Sean McDonald, who turns 12 today, 12/12/12, plays Xbox at his home in Charlton last week.

— Sean McDonald thinks it’s “sort of pretty cool” that he’ll turn 12 years old today.

Not only is he getting closer to the day he can become an Eagle Scout or fly a helicopter, but he’s entering his final preteen year on 12/12/12.

It’s a date some are greeting with great fanfare. Its numerical repetition has provoked predictions of worldwide good fortune — or the end of the world, getting a jump on the Mayan calendar story, which gives us nine more days before a Dec. 21 apocalypse.

On the upside, the date’s arrival has prompted thousands of midweek weddings across the country, by couples hoping it will bring them good fortune — and be easy for anniversary-amnesiacs to remember.

Young Sean, who is a sixth-grader at O’Rourke Middle School in Burnt Hills, acknowledges 12 is one of his lucky numbers, though he likes 10 and 11, too.

“He tried so hard to get the No. 12 for baseball, but he couldn’t,” said his mother, Cindy. His street address begins with a 12, too.

Since tonight is a school night, Sean and his friends had a party last Saturday at a Saratoga Springs laser tag arena, and he’ll go out with family tonight to a favorite restaurant, maybe Buffalo Wild Wings. Sean’s got an older sister, Kelsey, who’s in college, and two younger brothers, Bradden, 10, and Colin, 9.

Like many 12-year-olds, Sean loves XBox games like “Call of Duty,” but he hopes to attend the Air Force Academy, then fly helicopters.

Sean’s parents figured out the approaching quadruple convergence a few years ago. “It’s really cool,” said his dad, Dan, a Schenectady police officer.

Today’s date seems to resonate with people in a way earlier series like 09-09-09, or 10-10-10 or 11-11-11 didn’t. Maybe that’s because there won’t be another date repetition like it for 88 years, until New Year’s Day, 2101 — which will be 01-01-01.

Readers can decide for themselves whether there’s any cosmic harmonic resonances, but thousands of people are planning to get married today, despite it being midweek. Las Vegas wedding chapels that advertise Elvis, James Brown and Johnny Cash wedding specials have been promoting 12-12-12 wedding packages for months.

David’s Bridal, the national bridal clothing chain, estimates 7,500 couples will tie the knot today nationwide, compared with only 485 on Dec. 12, 2011, which was also a weekday.

“Twelve-twelve-twelve marks the last triple sequence of the century, so it has its own special significance,” said Brian Beitler, David’s Bridals’ chief marketing officer.

In Pittsburgh, The Associated Press reported that an assistant U.S. attorney and deputy U.S. marshal will be married by a federal judge at 12:12 p.m., and they will exchange 12-word vows: “Do you, [name], take this woman/man to be your lawfully wedded wife/husband?”

Why does 12-12-12 resonate with so many people?

Perhaps it’s because the number 12 plays a central in our lives: a day is conventionally divided into two 12-hour segments, it’s the number of months in a year, and it’s useful in commerce and mathematics because it’s easily divided into half, thirds, quarters, sixth or twelfths — as are any of its upward multiples. A dozen is a common commodity measurement, and so is a gross — a dozen dozen.

And don’t forget that there are 12 days of Christmas.

But should the number series 12-12-12 make you think of nothing more exciting than boxes of doughnuts, rest assured that you’re not alone.

 
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