Happy Birthday to Me
September 17, 2007 § 5 Comments
I stumbled across this meme months ago and squirreled it away just for you, sweet reader.
On this day in history:
1. Charles VI of France expels all Jews from France (1394)
2. United States Constitution signed* (1787)
3. Camp David Accords signed between Israel and Egypt (1978)
I share my birthday with:
1. Sophia Alekseyevna (1657)
2. Billy the Kid (1860)
And it’s the anniversary of the death of:
1. Spiro Agnew (1996)
*I’ve always considered the Constitution to be the true founding document of our fair nation. Sure, it lacks the flash of “We hold these truths to be self-evident…”, but The Preamble is a lovely piece of hopeful, ambitious philosophical writing:
“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility….”
We (or, hey, I) tend to think of the Founding Parents as fierce men stomping about in Philadelphia’s streets in their stockings and glorified deck shoes yammering on to each other earnestly about obscure points of law; but really, they were just starry-eyed dreamers like the rest of us. To wit: the “promote the general welfare” bit. I wonder if that would get shoehorned in today.
Anyway, before I get distracted, I thought I’d share some hard-won nuggets of wisdom I’ve accrued, lo these 25 years.
Regardless of the proverb, it’s very easy to love a poor man instead of a rich one; plus, bonus points for not having to drag a camel through the eye of a needle in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. So that’s handy.
And speaking of camels, to avoid being spat upon while standing in their presence, it’s best to keep yourself about level with the front legs.
If you’ve got a sunburn and haven’t got access to aloe vera gel, you can make a soothing paste of water and baking soda to help stop the pain.
Everyone loves a handwritten thank-you note, plus it gives you a legitimate opportunity to play with sealing wax.
Never pass up the chance to pee.
Listening to Car Talk is a great mood-booster, even when your mother calls to say ‘happy birthday, oh, by the way, we almost had your beloved childhood dog put down last Thursday.’ You get to learn the names of a lot of different bits of the combustion engine (which share the names of many human parts: knuckles! joints! shafts!), if not how they fit together or work (suck! squeeze! bang! blow!).
It’s always a good idea to have a pen and something to scribble on somewhere on your person.
Old Hollywood classics are usually a let-down, so always get a back-up movie rental.
When baking, if you measure your oil first, you can used the pre-greased cup to measure sticky substances (molasses, peanut butter) and they’ll slide right out.
A gift of monogrammed handkerchiefs is a good choice for anyone.
Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. We’re off to celebrate my birthday with our usual Caligulan levels of indulgence. Have another round on me, and a happy birthday to you from me, whenever that may be. See you tonight at the Circus Maximus.
In closing, here’s a poem by Jack Gilbert.
Getting Away with It
We have already lived in the real paradise.
Horses in the empty summer street.
Me eating the hot wurst I couldn’t afford,
in frozen Munich, tears dropping. We can
remember. A child in the outfield waiting
for the last fly ball of the year. So dark
already it was black against heaven.
The voices trailing away to dinner,
calling faintly in the immense distance.
Standing with my hands open, watching it
curve over and start down, turning white
at the last second. Hands down. Flourishing.