On turning 29.

Once upon a time, I was dining out with some good friends. They brought along a woman I didn’t know—let’s call her “Mensa”—presumably to try and set us up. What ensued was a perfect example of why I hate setups.

The topic turned to birthdays on holidays, or shared with celebrities and historical figures. I mentioned that I share a birthday with Boris Karloff, Billy the Kid, and R.L. Burnside (“All I did was shoot him in the head. Him dyin’ was between him and the Lord.”), and that last year, my birthday was on Thanksgiving.

Mensa asked, “What about this year?”

I replied, deadpan, “It’s on Thanksgiving this year, too.”

With, like, total seriousness, she said, “No it isn’t.”

Me: “Sure it is.”

Her: “It can’t be.”

Animals instinctively know that showing signs of weakness will get you abandoned or eaten. It’s for the best, as far as the species as a whole is concerned. We supposedly enlightened humans have to settle for mocking those worthy of natural deselection. My friends saw the humor, and saw that Mensa didn’t, and did not intervene.

Me: “My birthday falls on Thanksgiving every single year.”

Her: “Not every year.”

Me: “Well, maybe not every year, but every year since I’ve been alive.”

Her: “That can’t be! It’s always on a Thursday—“

Me: “So’s my birthday.”

Her: “But it changes every year. Are you stupid?”

Me: “I’m not going to argue with someone who has the audacity to claim she knows more about my birthday than I do.”

Her: “Do you have any idea what you’re talking about?”

Me: “All I know is, every Thanksgiving I’m a year older and I eat cake.”

Her: “This is stupid.”

That made my night. Whatever my friends had hoped to accomplish by bringing her along had safely been thwarted. We laughed about it later.

Should I tell people when I’m kidding? Or do they deserve to think otherwise?

It occurs to me that there’s nothing special about turning 31, or 32 for that matter. In some cultures, 33 is a big deal because that’s how old Christ was when he was crucified. So this year, instead of turning 31, I’m going to turn 29 again. That way, I can heighten the drama next year when I turn “30,” and then the following year I’ll just turn 33. I’ll turn 33 again the year after that, and then turn 35. I’ll hold at 35 for the next four years, then turn 39 so I can have the big buildup to 40. None of this Jack Benny nonsense where I’m 39 for the rest of my life—that’s just silly.

This Thanksgiving, I am especially grateful:

…for my job. When people complain about being teachers—when they complain about the conditions, or the stress, or the district, or the exhaustion, or when they poor-mouth–I think back to some of my other jobs, and am contented. I will take my job at my school over most jobs that are out there.

…for my closest friends. The father of one of those closest friends used to say, “If you can count your closest friends on more than one hand, you’re lucky. If you count them on more than two, you’re lying.” I’m lucky. Looking back at college, I was lucky to get assigned to overflow honors housing. I wouldn’t have met my best friends otherwise.

…that I am me. I can’t imagine the horror of being anyone else. It chills me.

…that radical eco-nuts are sterilizing themselves. For this, O Lord, I thank thee.

…that I met most of my grandparents’ brothers and sisters before they died. One more died earlier this week, and is reunited with her husband who died in France in WWII.

…for my health. Avoiding the doctor has worked out pretty darned well for me, for a good long time.

…that the red pen I accidentally left in my shirt pocket didn’t break, open or melt in the washing machine or the dryer.

3 Responses to “On turning 29.”

  1. gatorbob Says:
    November 26th, 2007 at 10:12 PMBest returns on your birthday, my friend. Interestingly, my better half turns 35 every year and somehow she pulls it off, whereas I look more and more like my old man every year. By the way, I’ve had dates like that. My favorite was the woman who compared me to Alexander Haig when I confessed that I preferred reading non-fiction books.


  2. VDV Says:
    November 27th, 2007 at 6:13 PMAl Haig? You?

    I won’t mention to KC that you’ve caught on.

  3. Somesense91 Says:
    December 1st, 2007 at 5:09 PMWow, that is a funny story. She sounds like a keeper!