I probably shouldn’t write about birthdays, especially my own. “So you’re 58,” wrote Steve Chelton of Torrance. “All I can think is how I’m 62. That means that I’m still the high school senior who can kick your butt! Happy birthday, freshman.” That and one from Daniel Kopti, who wrote: “You’re too hard on yourself. How many other 58-year-olds have their photograph in the newspaper? By the way, happy birthday!” And Anna, who, because she is married, asks that I not use her last name: “You are the sexiest 58-year-old man I have ever seen. My girlfriends and I (we’re nurses) saw you at the sandwich shop next to the newspaper two weeks ago and couldn’t get over how nice you looked. Happy birthday.” Yes, Anna. Everyone says that to me. Actually, nobody has ever said that to me, so thank you very much. Now back to reality and how in last Monday’s column I mentioned the e-mail-of-the-moment, the one where some patriotic, unnamed individual calls for a boycott of the new presidential gold-tone (not gold, but gold tone) dollars because they lack the words, “In God We Trust.” Hey, they also lack the words, “All Others Pay Cash,” but you don’t see me getting upset. Anyway, to check on this I went to the U.S. Mint Web site, where it indeed looked like the none-too-elegant coins indeed did not carry the inscription first used on American coins during the Civil War and designated as our national motto in 1956. But like so many hallowed American symbols, the earthly and recent origins of these words have been ignored in favor of a die-for mythology. Thus, the outrage in the widely circulating plea to refuse the coins in change, which is silly because we will immediately take all these coins out of circulation just as we did the last round of ugly gold-tone coins. In any event, I was wrong. Either that or the Mint site didn’t make things obvious enough for me. Luckily there are many sharp-eyed coin collectors out there, all of whom wrote me immediately. And for this I offer my thanks. Steve Petrich wrote: “I guess you’ve heard it from a thousand people by now (Do you think you have that many readers?) that the new dollar coins featuring the presidents have the `In God we Trust,’ `E Pluribus Unum,’ date and Mint mark displayed along the edge of each coin. Why the government didn’t reserve that unique space for advertising is beyond me.” Actually, I do have thousands of readers and they all collect coins and they all wrote me. By the way, Steve, that advertising idea is good. Chris Dreike of Torrance wrote, “It was interesting to note that your paper’s Today In History column stated that the words `In God We Trust’ first appeared on our paper currency on Oct. 1, 1957, 50 years to the date that your column ran. Was this on purpose?” Chris, that’s a common question often asked by people who actually think that we actually know what we are doing and are organized enough to put two such stories together intentionally. The answer to your question then is, yes, we did it on purpose. George in San Pedro wrote: “If you look on the edge of the new gold-like coins, you will find engraved `In God We Trust.’ I do like reading your column, but you do have a tendency to go off half-cocked.” George, seriously, I thought that I was completely cocked. Marlene Olive of Palos Verdes Estates wrote: “You’re wrong on the `In God We Trust’ issue. But your point is well taken. Where do such e-mails originate and why are they so full of misplaced passion? If the words were not on our coinage would we no longer trust in God? So we trust in God? For what? Guidance? If so, where has he been lately when the powers that be needed so much guidance?” Ron Koskela adds yet more intrigue to the non-issue, “`In God We Trust’ is indeed on the new coins. But due to an error, approximately 50,000 of the coins were minted without the edge inscriptions. The Mint and collectors are working at removing the erroneous coins from circulation.” On another subject. Erica Ferro of San Pedro wrote, “I agree with you. I was embarrassed by the behavior of Columbia’s president. Ahmadinejad was invited to speak. Wouldn’t it have been polite to let him speak without introducing him in such insulting terms? Did he not think the students and others attending had enough intelligence to figure out for themselves what he was? I don’t think it reflected favorably on Columbia’s president. “In addition, two commentaries I read reported that the rude treatment made Ahmadinejad a hero in Iran. I know you will be deluged with hate mail after your column, but put me on the plus side.” Actually, I did get some hate mail but I didn’t want to ruin the nice effect created by the letter from Anna. Now write on any subject you like. I need company. I want to hear your comments. Connect with me at [email protected], call 310-543-6681 or send a letter to John Bogert/Daily Breeze, 5215 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503-4077.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!