This is the 400th post on The 100 Billionth Person. I thought I would have arrived at this milestone a little sooner, but it’s been a busy year. I also decided this year to write fewer my-reaction-to-events pieces and more long-form walks through my garden of earthly interests. Both factors have reduced my post count — with mixed results, I think, but you be the judge of it.
I did not compile a video retrospective to mark my 400th post as I did for my 300th (watch it here). First, there is the BTDT factor. But more than that, it would be too minor of a celebration for someone like Christopher Hitchens.
It is his familiar and inviting yellow book-binding that I see once again on my side-table — this time, the work is Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens (2011). This volume is his penultimate collection, comprising well over one hundred of his reviews, essays and editorials. Each bit of Hitchens I have read is arguably more substantial than any twenty of mine considered together. I enjoy and envy his expansive knowledge and fearless choice of interesting words.
So some humility on my part is fitting and proper for my comparatively lesser level of talent. That said, with this post, I have published a (humble) total of 161,500 words on The 100 Billionth Person. This is the equivalent of one War and Peace by L. Tolstoy plus one Les Misérables by V. Hugo plus one The Brothers Karamazov by F. Dostoyevsky. Impressive company, wouldn’t you say. In fact, I was just talking to the Freethinking Monsieur Hugo the other day, and we agreed to ask Hitchens to meet us in the afterlife somewhere near the Pantheon in Paris — being that Hugo is not getting around so well these days — for un café or, in Hitchens’ case, trois Johnnie Walker.
I still like to write – it is fun to put ideas together in the same room and see what happens when they wander out to the back porch together to drink a beer. I especially enjoy doing research for my posts, as it invariably leads to my reading more interesting things than whatever it is I am writing. For me, those secondary gains far outweigh the usual reason that a writer writes — to be read by an involved audience. Good thing too, considering the size of my audience. My wife laments how little I do to increase readership. So it goes.
Four hundred: a number insignificant in all ways except for some obscure rules about leap years. These so-called milestone numbers are like birthdays for old people – something to make note of and be thankful for, then get up and move on.