Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy 49th Birthday to me!

My mother never even knew I was born.


I don’t mean that in one of those whiny, mama-never-loved-me ways. She loved me. Still does. Most of the time. I think.


But she never remembered anything about my birth.


“The nurse came in and brought me this big breakfast. I said there was a mistake. I told her, ‘Nurse, I’m not allowed to eat anything. I’m here to have a baby.’ The nurse looked at me and said, ‘You can eat anything you want. You had the baby yesterday.’ She walked out of the room shaking her head.”


They’d loaded Mom up with so many thought-deadening drugs she has no recollection of my delivery. Her forgetfulness will make dandy fodder for birther conspiracy theorists should I ever run for president.


I don’t know where I was for any of this. You’d think I’d have been with her snuggling nourishment or at least brushing her cigarette ashes off my little head.


Maybe Dad took me out to the bars to show me off to his buddies.


Seems like I’ve been there ever since.


I turn 49 today. And that’s the actual age, even though I’m aware it sounds made-up like someone who’s afraid to say they’re 50.


I hope to turn 50 next year although tomorrow is promised to no one so I’m not about to get all cocky over the presumption.


Both Galileo and Simpson’s creator Matt Groening share my birthday, as do Cesar Romero (The Joker; “Batman”), Alan Arbus (Dr. Sidney Freedman; “M*A*S*H”), Kinks drummer Mick Avory and “Survivor” cutie and Pittsburgh native Jenna Morasca.


The birthday episode of the uproarious “My Name is Earl” was first broadcast on a Feb. 15 so I’ve always claimed Earl Hickey as a birthday mate.


Two more: Seattle Slew was born today in 1974 and “Ticket to Ride” recorded in 1965.


The latter suffers from confused parentage. John Lennon says Paul McCartney did none of the writing and Paul McCartney says he contributed at least 40 percent.


It’s terrible when estranged parents fight over the kids.


They also argue about the tune’s meaning. Paul says the title referred to Ryde, a small Isle of Wight town on the British Railways line; John says it referred to health cards indicating German hookers were disease-free enough to “ride,” ride being German slang for sex.


I guess the best birthday I ever had was my 19th. I was a freshman at Ohio University in Athens, then as now home to the No. 1 party school in America. My real brother came into the TV room at the old fraternity house where we both lived and wished me a happy birthday in front of all my great ceremonial brothers.


Right away, two of the older guys said they were taking me to lunch.


It had been a harsh winter in southeastern Ohio. But this day was unseasonably warm. The snows were gone and every one of the 14,000 students and most of the carefree professors were looking for an excuse to party.


We had a two-hour lunch at The Pub and stepped back out into the warm spring sunshine.


The quarter-mile walk back to the fraternity house became like a pre-social media flash mob. Every single door we passed opened and someone friendly or beautiful emerged happy to see us.


And everyone of them was carrying a six pack.


The fun lasted all night and it was one of the greatest parties I’ve ever been to and I just happened to be the cause of it.


I wish something like that could happen again today. The world needs more impromptu parties in the spring sunshine.


I mention this all today because it’s now impossible to duck our birthdays. I’ve heard from dozens of friends on Facebook who sent birthday wishes.


Thank you, one and all. I hope all the good wishes for me to have a great day come true and then boomerang right back onto you.


I don’t expect any impromptu parties to blossom on this still-wintry day. It’ll all be low-key and that’s fine with me.


I’ll be happy to spend my 49th with my wife and daughters. They’re taking me out to dinner tonight at Rizzo’s Malabar Inn, my favorite Italian restaurant. We’ll have pasta, some wine and a bunch of happy laughter.


And then, if the kids get to bed early enough, this lucky birthday boy may get a ticket to ride.


Yes, it’s always been a dream of mine to celebrate my birthday on England’s Isle of Wight.


2 comments:

Tia said...

I'd always heard the German sex story for "Ticket to Ride" but I think I'll tell my kiddos the lovely Isle version. At least until they get a little closer to 49.

Happy Birthday!

Chris Rodell said...

You know, I'd never heard that, Tia. Won't forget it now. Thanks!

Chris