Why do two odds make an even? Where does the expression “beating the odds” come from? Where is that odd sock that has been missing in action for years?
Wednesday — Odd Day — is the perfect day to tackle these odds — and oddities. The date is either 9/7/11 or 7/9/11, depending on whether you’re in the U.S. or Canada, or the rest of the world.
Ron Gordon, the retired California science teacher behind Odd Day, wants everyone to “be awed by the odd,” as he says on his website dedicated to the day.
“It’s a little math, a little smile, a little fun. It’s Odd Day,” Gordon told ABCNews.com. “They’re like calendar comets. You wait and wait and wait for them, then they brighten up your day, and then poof, they’re gone. It comes, it sparkles, it shines and then it’s gone.”
The Gordon family has established a contest for odd days with a prize jackpot of $791.10 to be distributed among 7+9+11 winners. That means each of the 27 winners will walk away with a grand total of $29.30 (for all the nonmath people out there).
Past winners have written poems called “Odd Odes,” have gotten married on Odd Day or had a baby born then. One retirement home in the Midwest celebrates every Odd Day by having dessert before dinner.
Gordon’s daughter Rachel has created a Facebook page for Odd Day and told ABCNews.com that in the same spirit as Pi Day (March 14 for the never-ending digit that begins with 3.14), the day is meant to be a fun way to celebrate math for math lovers and math loathers alike.
“I think it’s a cute little way for people that don’t like math to think, ‘I get it. I understand this,” she said, describing herself as “the opposite of a math person.”
The family’s next big day is 11/11/11, which it has dubbed “Ones Upon a Day.” It will be celebrated with a short-story writing contest and a $1111.11 prize to be divided among 11+11+11 winners.
For most of the world, Wednesday’s mathematical treat happens only five times a century — 5/7/9 was the previous odd day, and 9/11/13 will be the fifth and last of the century. But the U.S. and Canada get a bonus odd day on 11/13/15.
Creative revelers of Odd Day hoping for a slice of the prize money can send their entries to Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org or Box 5133, Redwood City, CA 94063.