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On New Year’s Eve I dropped by the Rothwells’ party for a plate of lasagna and some conversation. I finally met my friend Joanne; we hooked up on Facebook through its intelligent “People You May Know” tool. Joanne and I went through a mutual addiction to Wordle this year, and she sent me a megacool Christmas card that, along with a photo of her family, included a design she created on Wordle using words that summed up their year.

She’s also read some of my stuff. She asked me how I pronounce my dog Vive’s name (fyi: it rhymes with five), and explained that her middle daughter’s name is Vivi, which is short for Vivienne. The short name Vivi struck me. I love it. There was immediately something that occurred to me, so I asked Joanne:

“Is her birthday June sixth?”

Joanne’s face went white, she gasped, and she turned to walk across the lawn to get a grip.


How cool is that? When I heard the name Vivi, I immediately saw it in my head as Roman numerals: VI VI. 6/6. June sixth.

Turns out the numerical significance of Vivi and her birthdate were unintentional. Neither Joanne nor her husband Jeff thought of it at the time. But according to Joanne, the Roman numeral thing actually jumped out at her about a month ago. But she hadn’t told anybody. Not even Jeff.

Jeff, a left-brained analytical numbers type of guy, came over to see what all the screaming was about. Once he was done tripping out on it, we had a ball discussing what kind of coincidence it would take for all that stuff to line up. First, you need a name with Roman numerals, which, aside of Vivi, is extremely limited, not to mention that their numeric values must line up with months (1-12) and days (1-31). Other than Vivi, or maybe Ixi, are there even others? Multiply that by 1/365, and the odds have gotta be next to impossible.

So that was fun.

But here’s a cool little bonus to the thing, which not even Joanne or Jeff know about yet. I just realized something:

Vivienne’s birthday is June 6th, 2001. 06.06.01

Joanne opted for the French spelling of Vivienne, instead of the English Vivian. Let’s break this down:


VI = 6

VI = 6

And according to some quick research, it appears that the word “enne” is Estonian. One of its definitions:


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