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Merv Griffin, Burt Ward and Janet Leigh all share my birthday – as do Nancy Reagan, George W. Bush and Sly Stallone. Ned Beatty, Fred Dryer and the Dalai Lama were also born on July 6th, as were 50 Cent, Willie Randolph and Peter Singer. That last guy is an Australian philosopher about whom I know nothing, but I figure he can wax philosophic about kangaroos, beer, and Vegemite, which comes in handy. I’m not entirely displeased with this list of folks and would settle for an amalgamation of their various qualities. If you could combine Bush with the Dalai Lama, for instance, you’d have a revered holy man who could hold his own conversing with Nolan Ryan. I just watched a biography program on Merv Griffin the other night. He hit it big in 1950 with the song I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts. What Merv was getting at with that tune is debatable, but he never looked back. Nor has 50 Cent who has sold 15 million rap albums while somehow managing to keep it real. He’s also patently refused to add an “s” to the non-numerical part of his name, which I think is good. If you combined 50 with Ned Beatty, you’d have a pleasant-faced, southern character actor who sure as shit wouldn’t stand for what those crackers did to him in Deliverance. When I look at my fellow birthday-sharers, I see myself staring back.

I don’t list my birthday on my Facebook profile. Among the many things I find distasteful about the site is how it reminds you when one of your “friends” has a birthday. This makes remembering someone’s birthday or receiving well-wishes on yours about as special as spotting a Denny’s on a long road trip. Six-hundred and seventy-three happy birthdays followed by the recipient inanely thanking “all those who remembered.” Yeah, they remembered. Remembered to check their email or go to their Facebook page. They remembered like Jiffy Lube, Jet Blue, or any other business or retailer requiring a birth date and email address does. I preferred the pre-Facebook system of prioritizing which birthdays you remembered. Typically it was those of family members, close personal relationships, or someone you wanted to fill one of these positions. Of course the old system meant forgetting a lot of birthdays, but I had no problem with this either. People hung up on their own birthdays either fall into the category of wanting everyone to remember or everyone to forget, and in either case qualify as pains in the ass.

As the previous paragraph undeniably proves, white guys who have enough birthdays eventually evolve in to Andy Rooney. You rarely see it coming; one minute you’re celebrating your ninth birthday by going to see Blazing Saddles with your mother, brother and Doug Boxer, and the next you’re decades older, grumpily bemoaning the impersonal emergence of social networks and wondering why nobody got you the Letha Weapons love doll you secretly hope for every year. But as my buddy John Spears used to observe “it only goes in one direction and is better than the alternative.” Which I suppose is true, but could also be said of north-bound traffic on the 405 freeway. Harry Callahan once noted “opinions are like a**holes – everybody’s got one,” and in the end (no pun intended) the same can be applied even more accurately to birthdays. If I’ve accomplished anything on mine this year it’s been combining both (opinion and birthday) exhaustively and without purpose. Thankfully, tomorrow’s just another day.

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One Comment

  1. coleman wrote:

    OK I’m going on Facebook now and taking my birthday off there. You’re right.

    Rick, sorry for being a dollar short and something or other. My mind is slipping. Is Pearl’s today?? I think it was a two day difference..better call her.

    Friday, July 8, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

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