Make My Day
I'M 266 IN DOG YEARS
by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- It's my birthday in a couple of weeks, and I'll turn 38. I'm not complaining, because I've enjoyed my 30s so far, and am looking forward to repeating several of them.
But I'm not happy about the date of my birthday. I was born right at the stroke of midnight on June 27th, 1967. However, my mom went into labor on the 26th.
"18 hours!" she reminds me frequently. "Probably the longest labor in history! Why can't you call more often? I was in labor for 18 hours with you!"
Needless to say, after all that hard work, she was pretty disgusted with the doctors when they said "Oops, it's 12:00:01, so the 27th is your son's birthday."
Sure I didn't get the birthday my mom wanted, but that's not even what concerns me. What bugs me is that by arbitrarily picking my birthday out of thin air, the doctors doomed me to a lifetime misery of "Birthday Anonymity."
"Birthday Anonymity" is when no one really famous was born on your birthday. Few people are afflicted with this malady, because nearly every celebrity, sports figure, author, political leader, historical ruler, or great inventor was born on every day of the year except mine. With the possible exception of February 29th, June 27th seems to be the crappiest date to have a birthday, because almost no one of any significance was born on that day (except for me, of course).
Before I go on, let me clarify that I am not unhappy with my own birthday. I have a great birthday every year, Birthday Claus is always very kind to me, and I have a wonderful time with my friends and family. I just wish someone extremely cool and famous -- besides me -- shared my birthday.
Let's look at the two days on either side of my birthday:
June 26th was the birthday of baseball great Derek Jeter, as well as the inventor of baseball, Abner Doubleday. World cycling great and Tour de France champion Greg LeMond was born on this day in 1961, while this day in 1904 was actor Peter Lorre's birthday. And in 1892, Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winner Pearl Buck was born. It was also the birthday of my childhood best friend, Doug Dahlstrom.
June 28th is the birthday of actor John Cusack (1966), former Denver Bronco quarterback John Elway (1960), Saturday Night Live alum Gilda Radner (1946), and philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712). He's the guy who coined the phrase "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity." Richard Rodgers, of Rodgers and Hammerstein fame, was born on this day in 1902, and the Treaty of Versailles was signed today. It's the birthday of renowned bad guy John Dillinger (1902), one of the funniest people on Earth, Mel Brooks (1926), the founder of the Anglican Church (and ultimately the entire Protestant movement), King Henry VIII (1491), and one of my dogs.
So what about my birthday? It's not too bad, I guess. Helen Keller was born on June 27, 1880, and Bob "Captain Kangaroo" Keeshan was born in 1927. But that's about it for famous people. Otherwise, I have to share my birthday with H. Ross "Look at those ears! He can fly!" Perot.
What other notables share my day of days? After checking www.famousbirthdays.com, I see that Madylin Sweeten of "Everybody Loves Raymond" was born in 1991, and Julia Duffy, the woman on "Newhart" and "Designing Women" was born in 1951.
Look at the Writer's Almanac from Minnesota Public Radio (www.mpr.org). Ooooh, it's the birthday of novelist Alice McDermott. She wrote "The Bigamist's Daughter." You remember that one, don't you?
Science fiction writer James Patrick Hogan was born on June 27, 1941. According to the Writer's Almanac, he has written a number of novels "...based on 'hard' science, which are popular among scientists as well as with the public." By "public," I assume they mean "people who have heated arguments about the viability of warp engines at Star Trek conventions."
I don't mean to complain about it. It's not my parents' fault, the hospital's fault, or even the doctors' fault (although one could argue that last point). I just happen to have a mediocre, unexciting birthday when it comes to famous people. So it looks like I'll have to carry the ball for the day.
So, for those of you who share my birthday, those of you who have cried yourself to sleep, wishing someone famous had been born on your special day, dry your tears!
Hold your head up high, look people straight in the eye, and say with pride, "I was born on June 27th, the same day as Erik Deckers, the World's Strongest Humorist!" Who knows? Maybe someday, my name will appear on FamousBirthdays.com.
Yeah, right, and I'll be 29 for the 9th year in a row.
Erik is out of the office this week, so we are reprinting a column from two years ago, with a few updates to make it, well, up-to-date.