Odd connections: Franklin, Rand, and a great kid

January 17, 2007

Ben Franklin, portrait for Time, by Michael J. Deas

Ben Franklin on the cover of Time

Ben Franklin’s birthday is January 17. He was born in 1706.

The drama department at Pleasant Grove (Utah) High School put on Ayn Rand’s play, “The Night of January 16th” when I was an underclassman there. It’s an interesting play — a murder mystery played out in a courtroom, with a jury drawn from the evening’s audience. The play’s ending differs almost every night, with a different jury coming to slightly different conclusions. Suggested posters for the play asked, “Where were you the night of January 16th?”

Ayn Rand, Ayn Rand Institute

Ayn Rand

Years later that question came back to me as I rushed my wife to the maternity room at Charlton Methodist Hospital with contractions coming in quick succession, with a few minutes left in January 16th. The question made a good mnemonic to remember the date of the birth of our second child. Only later did I recall that the day is also Ben Franklin’s birthday — Ben being an object of some study and significant space on my personal library shelf. Read the rest of this entry »


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