In May this year, I ran 42 kilometres and 195 metres. There are 42 lingering pains directly attributable to that 4 hour and 10 minute excruciation. It is entirely likely that I shall never do that again.
My eldest daughter’s favourite album is AC/DC’s classic, gravelled-screech, powerchord fest: Back In Black. The first album that I genuinely enjoyed as a teenager (Jan Hammer’s Miami Vice 2 soundtrack doesn’t count) was Pink Floyd’s plangent Dark Side of the Moon. The duration of each album is 42 minutes.
Elvis Presley went into hiding when he was 42; the Titanic was charging along at 42 kilometres per hour when it hit the ice; there are 42 laws in cricket; and Harry Potter discovers that he is a wizard on page 42 of The Philosopher’s Stone.
Today, the 21st (which, when doubled, is 42) is the Winter Solstice: a day of desparate gratitude for the Sun and fear of its never returning.
My birthday: the angle of a rainbow.
And guess how old one is who claws for meaning, with fingers-crossed, in the middle of life.
I’ll give you 42 guesses.