Thursday, March 04, 2010
[For my birthday, I got some weird hybrid of a cold and the flu. Whatever it was, it certainly wasn’t at the top of my wish list. In any case, since I don’t have an Internet connection at home, and since I don’t go to work when I’m sick, that’s why this is being published two days AFTER my birthday. Since nothing in the piece actually tells you that today is my birthday, this preamble is fairly superfluous, but so am I, in the grander scheme of things, and if it will make what follows more pleasurable, feel free to pretend that today is the day before yesterday.]
I was born on March 2nd, 1957. That was 53 years ago, so my memory’s a little fuzzy, but I think I weighed about 7 pounds. Today, I weigh 190. If you had bought a hundred shares of me back then... well, do the math.
When I was born, there were only 48 states. Now there are 50. Can any Gen-X’er say he’s done as much for the country? I think not.
Before I was born, the Boston Celtics had never won an NBA Championship. One month after my appearance on earth, they won their first. Since then, they’ve won another 17 of the things. You’d think, considering my contribution to their success, they might have sent me a refrigerator magnet or something. Ah, what the hell. Every time they win, it pisses off Spike Lee. That’s good enough.
There were only 4 television stations in Boston on the date of my birth, and no cable. Now there’s cable and satellite and Tivo and On-Demand and all sorts of other groovy ways of getting your programming, and if you buy all of the available services, there are thousands of channels from which to choose. Of course, there are still only 4 things worth watching at any given time – if that - and you need to spend fifteen minutes searching for any of them. By the time you find one, the first part of the program is over and you don’t have even the slightest clue as to why one of the Brady Bunch kids is speaking like Humphrey Bogart.
When I was a kid, everyone was Catholic. Well, everyone in Boston, anyway. Why, you’d no sooner have seen a Protestant walking down Washington Street than a green polka-dot giraffe. Of course, to the best of my knowledge, they’ve never accused any green polka-dot giraffes of buggering altar boys, so I suppose it wouldn’t have been so bad to have seen a few. I was born a Catholic, but converted to green polka-dot giraffeism in my late teens. When I stopped doing drugs, I became a Catholic again. Now that I’ve been off of them for twenty years, I’m sort of a borderline Presbyterian. I still say prayers to Saint Anthony, though, because the Catholics are the only ones with a lost and found department.
When I first came into this world, the following things were all considered healthy: milk, eggs, butter, cheese, and red meat. Now, they all kill you. Other once-friendly-to-children foods, such as peanut butter, have also become increasingly homicidal. Any day now, I expect we’ll find out that the only things healthy to eat are library paste, bugs, and brown paper bags. That weird kid who sat next to you in kindergarten will live to be 140.
When I was a child, the only people walking down the street by themselves, talking, were insane. They still are, but now they hold small rectangular devices up to their ears while they do so, and some of them drive.
Eisenhower was in The White House when I was born, but the first presidential election I was alive for, we elected Kennedy. From there, things just sort of got out of hand. You can’t blame ME for that, though. My record is spotless. I’ve yet to vote for a winning presidential candidate. I’ve voted in 9 presidential elections and my choice in every one hasn’t even finished as high as second. I’d tell you I have great hopes for 2012, but that would be a lie. There’s about as much chance of a candidate I like being elected as there is of me writing something cogent.
Music has been pretty good during my lifetime, but if I knew then what I know now, I’d have shot Mick Jagger sometime around 1980. If I have to hear Start Me Up before a kickoff at a football game one more time… And, as long as we’re on the subject, if Terry Kath, rather than shooting himself, had turned the gun on the other guys in Chicago, the world as a whole would have been much better off.
My goodness! What a light-hearted romp this has turned out to be! Happy birthday to me! Let’s finish with a poem some of you may find familiar.
Monday’s child is fair of face
Tuesday’s child is full of grace
Wednesday’s child is full of woe
Thursday’s child has far to go
Friday’s child is loving and giving
Saturday’s child has to work for its living
But a child that’s born on the Sabbath day
Is fair and wise and good and gay
Of course, that last line doesn’t mean the same thing these days as when it was written, but neither do things like ‘budget deficit’ and ‘peace’, so why quibble? Anyway, I was born on a Saturday, so that’s the only part that matters. I have to work for a living, it says, and since I’ve yet to hit the lottery, I suspect that’s true. Monday’s child is fair of face. That would be MY WIFE. Considering what she has to put up with, you might have assumed she was Wednesday’s child, but you would have been wrong.
Soon, with more better stuff.