by Erik Deckers
American Reporter Humor Writer
June 29, 2001
SYRACUSE, Ind. -- It was my birthday this past Wednesday, and I turned 34. I'm not complaining, because I've enjoyed my 30s so far, and am looking forward to the next several years of them. In fact, I've enjoyed it so much that I may do a couple of my favorite years again. What I do want to complain about is the date of my birthday, June 27th. I was born right at the stroke of midnight on June 27th, 1967. However, my mom went into labor on the 26th.
"Eighteen hours!" she reminds me frequently. "Probably the longest labor in history!" she tells me every so often. "Why can't you call more often? I was in labor for 18 hours with you!" she asks me. 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 we have to declare the 27th as 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."
What is "Birthday Anonymity," you ask?
That's when no one very famous, or even slightly memorable, 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 any day in the year except for 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 importance 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 had a great birthday this year. Birthday Claus was very kind to me, and I had a wonderful time with my friends and family. I just wish someone cool and famous - besides me - shared my birthday. On February 29th, 1972, Antonio Sabato, Jr. was born, but I don't even know who that is, so I don't care. Jimmy Dorsey, brother of jazz great Tommy Dorsey, was born on February 29, 1904. Okay, so maybe February 29th is a little worse than mine, but only because most people born on that day will die of old age before they're old enough to drink. 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 best friend when I was growing up, Doug Dahlstrom.
Then there's June 28th, a date way better than June 26th. That's 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 also 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 my dog, Hannah.
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.
Let's 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 this date in 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."
Look out, June 28th! It's the birthday of actress, director, and= playwright Antoinette Perry in 1888. The Tony awards are named after her!
Ooh, ooh, ooh! Novelist Peter Maas, the guy who wrote "Serpico," was born in 1929. He was an investigative reporter in the 50s, 60s and 70s. It's getting pretty bad when Writer's Almanac host Garrison Keillor is resorting to the names of science-fiction writers, novelists, and investigative reporters for a famous birthday. Why put any effort into the 27th, when he's got some of America's finest writers, sports figures, comedians, and composers, as well as the creator of the biggest Christian denomination, second only to the Catholic Church, who were born on any daybut the 27th?! I don't mean to complain about it. It's not my parents' fault, the hospital's fault, or even the doctor's 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 have often cried yourself to sleep at night, 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, Garrison Keillor will read my name on the Writer's Almanac. Yeah, right, and I'm 29 for the 6th year in a row.