A TOTALLY Self-Indulgent Blast
It’s an Anniversary,
Not a “Day”
Somewhere along the way (of life), I heard that in China birthdays are celebrated as anniversaries (which they are) and note that the “age” we claim on that day represents the number of years you have completed on earth. So, even if I say I am 68 today (which I am), it means I have completed 68 years and am beginning my 69th year on the planet. You only have one birth “day,” and mine was in the first half of the last century! A full-fledged Baby Boomer, I was born during the Berlin Airlift, remember the Dodgers winning the World Series in Brooklyn (1955) as well as Newsday’s front-page story on Sputnik being successfully launched (October, 1957). Boomers my age (high school class of 1967, college class of 1971) experienced assassinations (JFK, MLK, RFK), the Vietnam War (no, I didn’t serve), Woodstock (yes, I went), the first Moon landing, Watergate, the destruction of the Berlin Wall, the creation and rise of the Digital Cyber World, 9/11, the first African-American president, and now Trump. And those are just the recollections off the top of my head (feel free to use the “Comments” tab to add more!).
On a W. Kamau Bell episode of United Shades of America (CNN Sundays at 10 --- recommended) the host travels to Florida to interview “Spring Breakers” and retirees. One of the retirees (a very energetic 72 year old) comments that “Life is like a roll of toilet paper --- it goes faster and faster as you get near the end.” And that certainly seems true to me. Nonetheless, at 68/69 it’s fascinating how clear youthful memories are and how weird it is to (suddenly) be so old! Yet the facts can’t be denied. Trump is the 13th president in my lifetime. My research revealed the following facts about what things cost in 1949: a car was $1,650; gas was $0.26 a gallon, a house cost $14,500, bread was 14 cents a loaf, milk was 84 cents a gallon, stamps were 3 cents and the Stock Market was at 200. 1949 was the beginning of the tv boom in America, with 3 million sets being produced (compared to 975,000 in 1948 according to wwww.tvhistory.com). By 1950 there were 6 million more sets and the shows that debuted in 1949 included The Lone Ranger, Captain Video and his Video Rangers, and Bozo the Clown. It seems our president, who was 3 years old at the time, grew up on a steady diet of those three programs.
Reflected Glory? I’ve always been fascinated by who else was born on May 19th --- thinking, in that odd astrologically “scientific” way that there must be some kind of kindred connection between “all of us” who share this day of nativity. The list for May 19th is pretty impressive, I’ll admit, including Malcolm X, Ho Chi Minh, Peter Townsend (of the Who), Lorraine Hansberry (Raisin in the Sun), Nora Ephron, Ferdinand Magellan, Grace Jones, and Mustafa Kemal. Of course I tend not to totally identify with several others on the May 19th list: Pol Pot, Andre the Giant, Joey Ramone, and Dusty Hill (of ZZ Top), for example. Born the exact same day --- May 19, 1949 --- was Archie Manning, the former New Orleans Saints quarterback and father of Peyton and Eli, the Super Bowl MVPs (ah, if I had only had sons?). So, there’s that.
Another thing I love (and don’t think I’m alone) are those astrological descriptions you can find on the Internet which describe you (to a tee!) based on your birthday. Here’s what I found at www.thefamouspeople.com/.
People born on May 19th tend to be deep and logical thinkers with humanitarian interests. They are warm and loving friends, but often find that they feel quite insecure despite a plethora of friends. These individuals give excellent advice because they are great leaders and good listeners but they almost never ask for advice from others. Those born on the 19th of May are strong and stubborn with an intense motivation and initiative in both their private and professional lives.
Overall, people born on May 19th are healthy. However, they sometimes become lazy in terms of cooking meals and eat food that is not particularly healthy. In addition, they often lose sleep due to their busy schedules. So, maintaining a healthy diet and getting plenty of sleep are important to those born on the 19th of May.
Those born on the 19th of May tend to be a bit frivolous with their money but only on occasions that are important to them. Overall, these individuals are able to save enough money to live comfortably but they rarely show off their financial well being by purchasing expensive material items.
Those who know me best can attest to the accuracy of these descriptors (but the one about cooking and eating seems relevant) and I believe the abundance of positive, plus very few negatives speaks to the veracity of the statements.
Horoscopes and famous people aside, I have to say that, looking back, I’ve had a most fortunate life with the uncanny luck of being in the “right place at the right time” --- too many times to recount, in fact. Memories of family, friends, and events parade by as I sit in the prime seat on the reviewing stand on this day every year and it’s a rich and enjoyable pageant, for sure. So, thanks to all those who have touched my life, altered its trajectory here and there, and hung in there with me throughout it all (you know who you are LCM, JJ, the Yale crew, the BBHS gang, ol’ BSHS folks, etc.). It’s been great fun so far and I’ve always said what I’d like etched on my urn is a pretty good adage to live by: “It all remains to be seen.”
Happy birthday to me!