Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A statistics exercise in date computations: when is your "personal MLK day"?

On that December 5 night in 1955, when the Montgomery bus boycott had lived 1 full day so far and nobody knew it would eventually live a long life of 382 days, a frightened crowd gathered in church to sing "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" and other reassuring hymns.

The speaker who then rose to the podium was a relative newcomer to Montgomery, and a youngster, who had lived just 9820 days so far, less than 27 years. Martin Luther King was not yet famous, but he met the needs of the congregation that night.

When King was shot in Memphis 4504 days later, he was only 39 years old. That's my age, too.

More precisely, February 14 this year is my "personal MLK day." That is the holiday I dreamed up on which a person has lived 14324 days so far, the number of days that King lived in total. The personal MLK day may be used as a time of reflection on what you have accomplished and want to accomplish.

Epilogue. Last night at bedtime, in our own little MLK Day observance, my children and I sang "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" and discussed the words. They have lived, respectively, 2346 and 1748 days so far.
*** Compute Your Personal MLK Day in SAS Statistical Software ***;
data temp;
my_bdate = mdy(--,--,1967);
k_bdate = mdy(01,15,1929);
k_ddate = mdy(04,04,1968);
k_age = k_ddate - k_bdate;
my_kdate = my_bdate + k_age;
format my_bdate k_bdate k_ddate my_kdate date.;
proc print data=temp;