An auspicious deight: 08/08/08

August 8th, 2008

When I was trying to set my last day at work, I angled for July 4th as an auspicious day — America’s Independence Day seemed like a good day to be free of a job. A month’s notice was too little for the team, it transpired, so we set August 1 as the day, a Friday. The following Friday might have been an even better date: 08/08/08 would be hard to forget.

At least a year ago, I predicted a spike in weddings and Caesarian sections on today’s date as people try to arrange a favorable beginning for these events. I read recently that entrepreneurs in Beijing were capitalizing on the first circumstance by booking wedding halls for August 8, then hiring them out at higher rates to less foresightful couples. For the second part, I don’t know for sure that the number of births will increase, or that anyone has figured out a way to make money from it, but I think it’s likely that anyone who was already planning a C-section around this time will go for the 8th, and that some people who weren’t planning one for medical reasons will do so anyway. I base this on the decision of a university friend to arrange 03/03/03 as his daughter’s birthday via C-section, motivated only by the desire for symmetry. [Update: I was right!]

Of course the other big event starting out today is the Beijing Olympics. Put births and the games together and you get this recent headline: “Over 3500 children named ‘Olympics’ in China”. If “Porsche” and “Mercedes” are legitimate aspirational names, maybe “Gold Medal” should be too.

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