Off the Press

December 18, 2012

By David Hayes

Birthdays are personal, not meant to be stolen

David Hayes
Press reporter

I have a beef with my birthday.

Not that I’m yet again a year older this Dec. 18 (I eternally hope to be a year wiser with each passing anniversary).

I have also long reconciled its proximity to Christmas and all the combined gifts I received over the years for the two occasions.

In the Navy, there was even a saying when you got in trouble, but had been in so much hot water before that one more run-in was inconsequential, “What are they going to do? Take away my birthday?”

Actually, this was possible if traveling at the right moment across the International Date Line — a whole calendar day could be lost.

But I digress.

Long have the famous shared the same birthdate as I, such as Steven Spielberg, Keith Richards and Joseph Stalin. So I’m not perturbed that the famous have since followed after me on the same date, such as rappers DMX and Cowboy Troy or wrestler Rob Van Dam.

Nope. My problem is that my birthday has been stolen.

The first time my birthday was hijacked was by my little sister for her own nefarious purposes — her wedding anniversary.

Engaged to her longtime boyfriend Rob, they had a very small window of opportunity to tie the knot between his graduating from the Army’s officer training school and being shipped off to his first assignment.

So while he was on leave, they got hitched before God and family on Dec. 18, 1993. They have since had three beautiful daughters and adopted a fourth and remain happily entwined 19 years later.

Now, however, whenever there is a family get-together around Dec. 18, it seems more likely than not the topic is what they are doing to celebrate their anniversary. Then, and only when it’s been thoroughly discussed, does someone seem to recall, “Oh yeah. So Dave, how’s it feel to be a year older?”

And that’s about the extent of it, before someone else asks, “What’s for dinner?”

Then, not too many moons ago, someone else in my extended family had to go and give birth to a blessed addition to her family, once again, on my b-day. Now decide what’s more fun for the family — keeping track of all the firsts for the newest in the brood, or hear the same old tales from (insert uncle/cousin/brother here) Dave?

Then, to cap it off and bring the life cycle full circle, Mark Felt, a.k.a. the infamous Deep Throat, Watergate whistle blower extraordinaire who brought international acclaim to Woodward and Bernstein, had to go and die on my birthday on Dec. 18, 2008.

OK, I reached a little for that last one. But you get my drift.

At least my wife and I still celebrate the day, albeit a little more low key than in the past.

Plus, as another old Navy saying goes, “A complaining sailor is a happy sailor.”

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