On Birthdays and Birthdayees

Today (I almost wrote “Toady”) is Megan’s birthday.  For the past twenty-seven years today has been her birthday.  Since 1952, today has also been the birthday of Douglas Adams.

There is no relation.

In Poland, it’s not the birthday that matters, but the name day, the day that celebrates the saint whose name you share.  I guess that’s all right, as long as you get a day that celebrates you.  I want to say that I find this celebration less exciting because tons of other people share the same name day as you, but then again tons of other people also share the same birthday as you.  I suppose it’s just that one is directly related to the event that brought you into the world, and the other isn’t.

There was a point where I thought about death days.  Someone pointed out somewhere at some time in some publication that just as we pass the anniversary of our birth every year, so do we pass the anniversary of our death, we just don’t know it yet.

(Apparently it was W. S. Merwin.  Here’s his poem on the subject.)

The ghosts in the Harry Potter books have deathdays where they celebrate the day (or night) that they died.  Of course, they are being born again into a new life, so the day should be celebrated.  Of course, they also have memories of how they died and that might taint the experience a bit.

I wrote a story once called “Going to Die” that involved a world where everyone knew when they were going to die, as truthfully as you can know exactly when you were born.  If we knew that, would we celebrate our deaths with parties and presents?  Would it, instead, become like Veteran’s Day, a time for reflection and, perhaps, sadness?  On deathdays you’d get two free shots at every bar you visited instead of just one.

A birthday is the celebration now of what happened then, although what you were then doesn’t matter as much as who you are now.

Over the years, birthdays have come to matter less and less to me.  Not other people’s (Happy Birthday, Megan!), but my own.  I remember a time I looked forward to them without fail since it was a day that was completely my own.  In grade school I was peeved that my birthday occurred over the summer as that meant there was never any recognition on a school-wide scale of my birthday.  I was jealous of those listed in the announcements, who were publicly recognized.

But the benefit to a summer birthday was that I could do whatever I wanted on my birthday AND do it all day.  I wasn’t beholden to a school that wanted to take half of my day away and, in addition, only gifted me with homework that I ignored at my own peril.

Today we’re in much the same situation, Megan and I.  Our schedules are flexible.  Our days are completely our own.

And I am happy happy happy to be sharing hers with her.

This entry was posted in Living and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply