Bad Birthday Karma

The Repercussions of Natal Timing

Hey, are you like me? You know?screwed?

I am one of those poor unfortunate souls born in that ungodly space between Thanksgiving and Martin Luther King Day. Jesus picked a terrible birthday for Himself.

If you love your future children, please don’t conceive them in March or April. They will be forever doomed to combination gifts, a double load of thank-you notes, and the occasional feeble, “Oh yeah, happy birthday,” tossed over the eggnog.

And if you think December’s bad, try having a party after the party’s over. In January, all the world’s in various stages of exhaustion, bankruptcy, hangover, and sugar shock. My birthday karma is perfectly wretched. The bulk of my childhood birthday pictures feature me standing wanly beside a chocolate cake in a nightgown and a runny nose.

And it got worse as I grew. When I wasn’t being dumped (oh yes he did!) I was throwing up. When I wasn’t throwing up, major wars were starting (See: War, Gulf). When the entirety of Israel wasn’t under an air raid alert, I was taking finals. In algebra.

If ever I get married, you can bet I’m going to park the wedding in the middle of the summer so as to experience the glory of opening gifts at a time when people’s heads aren’t exploding with stress and frostbite. My sister, who was born a week before Christmas, did this; when the gifts began to arrive, I watched in envious wonder as she tore into wrapping paper in the middle of May.

“What’s it like?” I asked, overcome.

She stared down at the place setting in her lap. “Awesome,” she said.

When she and her husband, whose birthday is in November, decide to have a child, they will abide by a notarized document stipulating that they will not so much as shake hands during the Danger Months of the spring.

This week is my birthday. I turn twenty-six. I will open the Priority Mail box at my feet, sent to me by my mother, who, as a January 3 birthday, recognizes the importance of opening something without the presence of a Christmas tree. Maybe my new friends here in Florida will remember the day; maybe they won’t.

But I will. The Entity that put me here will too. I’ll get up early and have a walk on the beach. I will touch the sand and the ocean and the sky above and concentrate on one very important and blessed fact?that I’m around to have another birthday to bitch about.

It’ll rain, probably.


Kerri Strug, November 19
JFK, November 25
Charles Schulz, November 26
Mark Twain, November 30
Woody Allen , December 1
Martin Van Buren, December 5
Johnny Bench, December 7
Emily Dickinson, December 10
Frank Sinatra, December 12
Christopher Columbus, December 21
Jimmy Buffett, December 25
Donna Summer, December 31
Verne Troyer (“Mini-Me”) January 1
Mel Gibson, January 3
Joan of Arc, January 6
Paul Revere, January 7
Elvis, January 8
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, January 13
Martin Luther King and Mary Beth Ellis, January 15
James Earl Jones, January 17
Daniel Webster, January 18