By Sue Murphy
On the day you were born, you emerged into the light, the nurse checked the clock on the wall, and – bing! – you were assigned a birthday, a day that will cyclically fall on different days of the week as time goes by, but whose number is yours forever.
Your birthday is important. It’s part of your legal and medical identity, not to mention that it gets you a free dessert once a year at participating restaurants.
If you ask astrologists, your birthday puts you in a particular star-controlled slot with a prescribed personality. I don’t buy it. I mean, people born under my sign are supposed to be picky and critical … OK, maybe they got that part right, but if that’s true I’m also going to claim the part about being kind to others. So there! Well, maybe they were wrong about the whole thing.
My grandchildren were all born on wonderful, holiday-free days. We have no Halloween treats, no Fourth of July sparklers, no Christmas gifts who will forever suffer from receiving all of the year’s presents in a single day. I was born on a Labor Day, which was handy since my dad was already off work. (I do what I can.) My birthday doesn’t fall that way every year, but it does fall during the beginning of football season (good) and the active end of the hurricane season (bad).
Of course, no one gets a birthday all to himself. I share mine with Pippa Middleton, even though we share nothing else. My daughter shares her birthday with Weird Al Yankovic, who I’m assuming would be more fun at a party.
Historically, a lot of things happened on my birthday. The Battle of Frigidus was waged in 394, when Theodosius I defeated Eugenius the usurper. In 1620, the Pilgrims set forth from Plymouth, England, on the Mayflower. In 1847, Henry David Thoreau left Walden Pond and moved in with the Emersons. I’m assuming he was invited.
Wikipedia says my birthday holds very few major holidays or observances, although I’m proud to say that it’s National Coffee Ice Cream Day in the U.S. I’ll take that, but the authors completely bypassed this year’s Pekin Marigold Festival, Tipton Pork Festival and Mustang Week in Myrtle Beach. My 2018 birthday will also be opening day for the NFL. Here in Alabama, we’re more interested in college football, but I imagine we’ll all tune in if only to see which sequined country star will kick off the big kickoff. Baseball fans, you can watch the Atlanta Braves play the Diamondbacks. Check your local listings.
At the Murphy household, my birthday will be hoopla-free. I’m thinking lunch and an early movie, something funny, topped off with a big bowl of ice cream … maybe coffee or mocha chocolate chip. No cake for me this year. I’m going rogue.
If I was in Dr. Seuss’ Land of Katroo, my big day would begin with the Birthday Honk-Honker hiking high up to Mt. Zorn and letting loose a big blast on the big Birthday Horn. This would be followed by an exuberant celebration, with Drummers who Drum and Zummers who Zum, but the best part would be the final, personal, rooftop proclamation, “I am what I am! That’s a great thing to be! If I say so myself, Happy Birthday to Me!”
Since the Birthday Honk-Honker is otherwise engaged, I’ll stand in with this honkless but heartfelt wish: “Let me say it right now, for all the year through: Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to you! “