Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Birthday and the Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

I was born a day before the two-year anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. I can't prove this is significant though I'm sure my parents, on more than one occasion, perceived December 6, 1943 as a date which will live in infamy.

I was not a good child. However, the magnitude of destruction I wrought in the course of youthful rebellion is memorable only to a few surviving members of my parents' generation. When they die, my unfortunate reputation will be forever erased and expunged. Then I'll die, too, and no one will know or care that I trampled my father's ivy plants, kicked down the door to my bedroom, stole pickles from my neighbor's pickle jar, sassed my teachers, terrorized my babysitters and got kicked out of Girl Scouts for breaking and entering (as well as for using swear words).

Various explanations have been put forward to explain why I behaved so badly, but all of them pale when one takes into account that I was born under the ominous shadow of Pearl Harbor. It's worse than being born on the Ides of March, though (admittedly) not so bad as being born on September eleventh.

My daughter was born on Friday, the thirteenth. At first I was distressed by this proverbially unlucky date, but then I read a lot of books about Christianity's attempt to stamp out Paganism and learned that the number thirteen, if you were pagan, was actually fortuitous. If you are a neopagan, you will understand this. Anyhow, instead of mourning my child's birthdate, I took pride in it and I still believe that her mass of coppery gold curls resulted from liberal sprinklings of fairy dust.

From a purely rational, scientific point of view, I suppose it doesn't really matter which day you were born on. This perception is fine for people who weren't brought up on stories like Peter Pan, The Water Babies, Grimm's Fairy Tales, and Arabian Nights, and were never attracted to folk lore or mythology.

Even if you are one of these rational types, you have to admit that being surrounded by people all talking loudly and indignantly about exploding battle ships is not the most propitious atmosphere in which to celebrate one's birthday.

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