Sunday, April 1, 2012

April Fools and the Week Of My Birthday

Anyone who knows me knows that I love April Fools Day. Its the only day of the year where my predominant personality trait is celebrated, the one day where what I really love to do isn't "frowned upon in this establishment!!" Those lucky enough to work with me in my office have learned to fear this day. They enter the office gingerly, vigilant eyes scanning the ceiling, doors and walls, determined not to be victimized. They perform even the most menial tasks with extreme caution, never knowing when a remote controlled rat might dart out from underneath their desks, or when a large bucket of ping pong balls might suddenly pour down from the heavens. Even the most benign surface might by covered with some odious gooey substance of unknown origin. Strange odors waft from the most unsuspecting places. I'm telling you, it's a thing of beauty. But not today. Once every seven years my big day falls on a Sunday. It's like the Governor's pardon, or the year of Jubilee for everyone else, but for me it's the mother of all letdowns.

Today is also the beginning of the week of my birthday, a seven day celebration of the day, 54 years ago, when I was born. That's the way we do it in the Dunnevant family. One day just isn't enough. Birthdays have lost much of their cache with me in recent years. When I was a kid I couldn't wait to be older, I counted the days until I turned 13 as if I was going to win the lottery. 18 was cool. It meant I could drink beer legally, and vote. Oddly enough I found that drinking beer legally, in a bar wasn't nearly as fun as sneaking around. Then 21 came and went. It wasn't as big a deal in 1979 to turn 21 as it is today. 30 was weird. I was a father by then and it didn't seem possible that I was 30. I had always been told never to trust anyone over 30. Could I now not trust myself? 40 was a blur, 50 even blurrier. Birthdays have become more like reminder posts than occasions of celebration. They are like those signs you see on the interstate..."last rest stop for 100 miles"..reminders that something unsettling is in your future. I'm not exactly sure when it started, but it used to be when I would accomplish something athletically like a personal best time in the mile, or hitting a wind-aided 300 yard drive I would brag about my superior skill. But somewhere awhile back I started saying..."not bad for a       year old." How did that happen?

So, I will grin and bare the week of my birthday, and be thankful that I have not assumed room temperature, which, after all, is the only other available option. Perhaps I will go out and do something physically demanding to prove to myself that I've still got it, whatever "it" is. Then after I return from Patient First in a sling with a prescription for pain killers I'll feel much better!