This explains so much.

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

A quick late-evening email from Nancy says:

You share a birthday with…Helvetica!

Famous typeface reaches 50 (from The Times Online)

And just like that, the meaning of the last fifty—yes, on April 11th, it will indeed be fifty—years of my life snaps into razor-clear focus.

All those years of a love-hate relationship with a typeface that is ubiquitous, beautiful, and intolerable in its ubiquity. Ah, Helvetica. We are of a common time, if not a common place (very few lasting typefaces have emerged from Central Ohio.) By turns functional and detached. Icy and daring. Pedestrian and urbane. Ah, just let this guy tell you about it. I am but Helvetica’s fellow traveler through this world.

But in other news, I have about an hour of my forties left, according to my carefully crafted Hypercard stack, written maybe 18 or 20 years or so ago. (I remember being amazed when I could actually write code—Hypertalk script, actually—that did something meaningful on my small, smiley appliance computer.)

I’m delighted that the code I worked hard on still actually runs (inside a layer or two of modernity) on my machine, and I have enough brain cells left to construct a modern, universal, Cocoa application that does, well, much the same thing. It’s a tiny date calculator called Date Arithmetic and it’s my birthday present to you.

(By the way, the font in the ancient Mac dropdown menu? No, it’s Chicago.)

Hugs and warm thoughts to my amazing wife, family and friends. Thanks for each and every year thus far. Let’s do more.