My Younger Brother is 4 Times My Age
A paradox, a paradox. A most ingenious paradox.
I have no idea why my parents decided to travel by boat from New Zealand to Hawaii when mum was almost 9 months pregnant, but at least there was a doctor on the boat.
Just as well.
I was born on Saturday, February 29 at 12:10 am.
29th February? Really? You poor thing!
And yes, I’ve heard all the jokes.
“You look really old for your age! LOL.”
“Sorry I missed your birthday, but so did you. Ha. Ha. Ha.”
Yes, I’ve seen The Pirates of Penzance and, like poor Frederick, who shares the same birthday as me, I feel a slave to duty to stay chained and faithful to my dreaded birth ship until I reach my 21st birthday.
Staggering Event number one was “I was born on a ship in a leap year”, but that wouldn’t make much of a captivating title, would it?
But it was truly the beginning of an unrepeatable sequence of events.
All at Sea
You see, being born on that ship on that day in that leap year isn’t the worst of it. With a hat tip to Gilbert and Sullivan, a most ingenious paradox occurred. As the news was going around that a baby had been born on that ill fated day, two even more staggering events happened just a few minutes later. On their own, or even the two of them together, would not be eventful at all, but together with my own arrival into the world, they will make your head turn upside down.
Now we get to event #2: The boat crossed the international date line. Wind your clocks back, ladies and gentlemen, it’s yesterday once more.
And then the third event took place, which no one in history would ever had waged could happen: a second child was born. Another son. Healthy, just like me. And my younger brother. Except that he wasn’t. Or isn’t. Because by the time he was born, it was now Friday February 28.
Strictly speaking, I suppose we’re twins. And although he was born after me, his birthday is the day before mine. And (as fate would have it), February 28 comes every year. Which means that my younger brother is four times my age (if you count birthdays) even though he was born a few minutes after me.
This story is [almost completely] fictional. Anthony English is a twin and was actually born on a different day from his sister (or close enough to midnight for it to be in dispute), but he has never been on a ship, or crossed the dateline. He has watched Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance and he enjoys inventing far fetched stories when he is not focused on his relatively hum drum existence as an IT consultant working on IBM systems in Sydney.