Fallen firefighter Bobby Beddia discovered the magical match of birth year, age

New York City firefighter Bobby Beddia, who gave his life in the line of duty. (From dev.firehero.org)

New York City firefighter Bobby Beddia, who gave his life in the line of duty. (From dev.firehero.org)

All the views stacking up daily on my post about being born in 1957 and turning 57 this year got me to searching again today.

And this morning I came up with a new and exciting hit. The site greetingcarduniverse.com is offering cards for this year, complete with a name.

It’s the year of the “Beddian Birthday.”

The greeting card site explains that the year-matches-age phenomena is “named after NYC firefighter Bobby Beddia who noted this cooincidence.”

Of course I had to search Bobby Beddia.

What I story I found.

A Nov. 12, 2007, piece in the New Yorker by Lizzie Whiddicombe chronicled a visit to a New York City firehouse in which mathematician Rhonda Roland Shearer met a firefighter who said he was quite lucky because, at age 53 and born in 1953, he was quite lucky to be living in his birth year.

Whiddicombe caught Shearer’s enthusiasm at seeing “a mathematician’s look of wonder” on the firefighter’s face, and noted how she immediately made plans to work on his theorem.

Tragically, unbelievably, sadly, Beddia was killed fighting a fire later that day.

But Shearer kept working on his notion, and finally the idea got to math writer Barry Cipra, of Minnesota. He found that nobody had ever officially noted the age-birth year match, so he wrote a paper on the only-in-odd-year occurrence and called it the Beddian Birthday.

So now we know. And we no longer have to come up with a name for the once-in-a-lifetime year.

Happy Beddian Birthday, fellow birth year of 1957 members, and may Bobby Beddia’s spirit of curiosity live on forever.

Here’s my initial piece about noting the special significance of this year for those of us born in 1957.

Here’s the second piece I wrote about 57 for ’57.

Here’s the source for the photo of fallen hero Bobby Beddia.

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48 thoughts on “Fallen firefighter Bobby Beddia discovered the magical match of birth year, age

  1. This was a fine post with heartfelt meaning behind it. I had expected a birthday celebration or something about the “57 Club” but it was a story of a firefighter’s life and death. I may have shared with you, my brother Randall Oldrieve (the sculptor and artist) is 57 in May. Isn’t his b’day cool? 5/7/57!! I will have to tell him about the Beddian birthday cards…and his story, too. Thanks, Mark!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been dipping my toe in this birth year-age match subject since January, Chris, and it was absolutely thrilling for me to find that a firefighter brought the notion of the special connection to light in the year that he gave his life on duty. Thanks for your kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m glad someone did that math, because it gives me headaches. Horrible that he died on his birthday though. There’s a special place in my heart for firefighters, police officers, and military personnel who put their lives on the line every day for me, you and every one else, and yet are so easily forgotten until they are needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Today is my Beddian birthday! I’m excited to have found this site and am also very surprised that it took people so long to actually document it. I thought someone would’ve claimed the fame before now. And GOD BLESS BOBBY BEDDIAN for ALL his sacrifices! ….. pick up line or not, what a great birthday gift from Rhonda Shearer!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Happy Beddian Birthday, Darlene! I am so glad you found my blog post and my blog site on this important day. As you see, we share our very distinguised year of birth, so I feel the kindred spirit. Have a great day, and ride out the rest of your BB year in style. My big day comes on Dec. 14. Once in a lifetime! I hope you check out some more of my posts.

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  4. Today is my twin brother’s and my Beddian birthday! Happy Birthday, Womb-Mate! My son is also a firefighter, so this is way cool it was named after a firefighter!

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      • Brenda (if you’re still following this), I think that is your Beddian Birthday AND your Golden Birthday.
        From Google, source unknown: “A person’s golden or grand birthday, also referred to as their “lucky birthday”, “champagne birthday”, or “star birthday”, occurs when they turn the age of their birth day (e.g., when someone born on the 25th of the month turns 25 or when someone born on the ninth turns nine).”
        So, maybe a Golden Beddian Birthday? That has to be rare!

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  5. Why do you say only in odd year occurrence?I was born in 1952 and turned 52 in 2004.That was my Beddian birthday with all even years.

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  6. Thanks I’ve been wondering about this. I was born in 59 and next June I’ll be 59. Now I know it has a name and what to call it! Thanks all.

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  7. This is about the only thing that comes up (except for a New Yorker article) when you Google about this phenomenon. Don’t you think you should correct his name in the title? I really think you should. My Beddian Birthday comes in February, 2018. I was born in 1959 and I’ll be 59! It suddenly occurred to me one day, and I wondered if there was a name for that! Please give Bobby Beddia credit. Even in the comments people are calling him “Bobby Beddian”. ❤

    Like

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