Friday, December 18, 2020

Andy Young: The curse of late December birthdays

By Andy Young

Special to The Windham Eagle

With the exception of those suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder (AKA Multiple Personality Disorder), a person’s birthday comes around only once a year. I always eagerly anticipate mine, which I consider an annual special treat. I like having (or at least imagining I have) one day per year when the universe, or at least the portion of it consisting of my friends, family, and co-workers, revolves totally around me.

But sometimes I wonder if the reason my birthday is always so festive is because it occurs when there isn’t much else going on.

I have a friend who is attractive and successful in every way imaginable.  She’s adventurous, athletic, creative, honest, courageous, intelligent, perceptive, and patient. She’s also a great listener who comes equipped with a terrific sense of humor. She enthusiastically greets each day and treats everyone she encounters with a kindness and inclusiveness that invariably brings out the best in all who surround her. I thought her life was ideal, until she confided in me that, well… wasn’t.

It seems no one’s ever gotten terribly excited about her birthday, which falls between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Those born during the last week in December rarely have decent birthday parties. It’s tough competing with the numerous galas celebrating various religious holidays, not to mention the festive commemorations of the old year’s departure and the new one’s arrival.

Regardless of how incredibly special an individual is, birthdays that fall during the most holiday-fraught time of the year are doomed to afterthought status. Late-December birthday parties have as much chance of success competing with Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day as I would in a game of “Horse” with LeBron James…. after I’ve spotted him the H and the O!

A website called confirms the obvious; even those paid to create special “Days” steer clear of the holiday season. Whoever designated Christmas Eve as “Eggnog Day,” Christmas as “Pumpkin Pie Day,” and the 26th as “Candy Cane Day” was clearly waving the white flag, and Fruitcake Day (the 27th), Card Playing Day (28th), Tick Tock Day (29th), and Bicarbonate of Soda Day (30th) offer further evidence of the advertising industry’s collective surrender during the year’s final week. The first weekend of the new year isn’t too exciting as far as special days go either, unless you can get fired up over Copyright Law Day (Jan. 1), World Introvert Day (Jan. 2), and/or Humiliation Day (Jan. 3).

People born between Christmas and New Year’s Day have an inherent disadvantage. Even those who’ve prospered despite their undeserved handicap have paid dearly for their success. Mao Zedong, who was born Dec. 26, 1895, headed a revolution that led to the founding of the People’s Republic of China, but he’s remembered more for repression and murderous totalitarianism than for helping birth a powerful nation. President Woodrow Wilson (birth date: Dec. 28, 1856) shepherded the United States through World War I and the worldwide Spanish Flu pandemic but a crippling stroke during his second term left him a virtual invalid for the final half-decade of his life. And beloved television actress Mary Tyler Moore (born Dec. 29, 1936) may have won seven Emmy Awards, but she also battled alcoholism, and endured the unimaginable pain of her only child’s tragic and untimely death.

Knowing of all the misfortune people born late in the year are prone to gives me even more respect for all Lebron James has accomplished, particularly given his birthdate: Dec. 30, 1984. Maybe I’ll spot him three letters when he comes over for that game of “Horse.”  <


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