Upcoming: My Xenon Year

Dr. Oliver Sacks gave me a gift for my birthday some years ago: a writing prompt that I use each year for my special-ish day: Write an essay in which you equate your age with the corresponding element number on the periodic table.

Since I am a nonscientist, this seemed like an invitation to a find a metaphor in a reflection of the year past and in one’s hopes for the year to come.

Of course, Dr. Sacks did not give this present to ME; it was in a July 2015 New York Times essay titled, “My Periodic Table.” (Link; subscription required.) One of his final essays (he died in August that year at age 82), it was a gift for everyone:
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Happy Birthday, Michelle!

My earliest memory happens to be the moment I met my baby sister, Michelle. As today is her 51st birthday, that means I have fifty-one years of conscious (and semi-conscious) memories as of today or the next few days.

The most important part of all the above is this: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MICHELLE!
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The Iodine Year

Because the past has a script, we think it is easier there.

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The clicks on life’s odometer resound with more of an echo on certain days—one’s birthday, usually. The clicks are no louder any other day, of course, but on one’s birthday, other people hear them for you, too.

Perhaps because I have spent more time on camera these last two years—meetings of various sorts on webcam via Zoom, the Mark Aldrich & Panda comedy show that the writer/performer Meghan Jenkins and I created, and even an interview with SpineUniverse.com—the face that you see above no longer surprises me with its sheer face-iness.
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