Thoughts on my birthday of August 3rd: History, Dalmatians, and a certain je ne sais quoi
(I literally listened to this Breeders track as I was typing this post so in the interests of full disclosure, there you are).
Not being much of a birthday guy per se, I leave it to my social media to remind me of these days, these reminders of time’s passing. I would like to say I am reflective on such days, but no more so than normal. I would like to say I stare out pensive windows with melancholy and the general ague, but I don’t. It might just feel that way, but it is my estimation that my birthday has never occurred on a weekend, so I invariably am slogging my way through a workweek as the day approacheth. And this year around, it approacheth in the midst of
- incredible jetlag (Melbourne, I am pumping my fist at you)
- impending move (to Seoul)
- work (musn’t forget my gainful employment)
Despite this, I have my music, my headphones, my two screens, my work computer, and a certain je ne sais quoi (if you click that link, you don’t have the aforementioned je ne sais quoi) so all is well. But today is my birthday and many thanks to those who have wished me happy tidings completely unsolicited by the world’s calendar, Facebook. I am 36. That seems significant, but for the life of me I am not sure why. I feel professionally competent, my writing skills (actually something in which I take some pride) are sharp as the monkey bone/tool in 2001, I have travelled quite a bit of the world (oddly, the goal that seemed most outlandish when I was younger), have lived abroad and will live abroad again, am happily married to a woman I met when I was not the impressively mature figure I am now (a lad of 25). I have been hit by a car, skidded off a runway, battled the traffic in a taxi in Africa (x10), been in love and have been loved, I have two Masters degrees and I didn’t buy either of them. I have been down and now up. All is well in that front. I listened to myself for the most part and have made mistakes, but they are mine. I move to the beat of a different drummer (this guy):
How does this day stack up in the annals of history? What blip does my birth make on the slouching, reluctant progress of history through its paces? Not much, but that is fine. I am happy at this stage to just be a cog in the machine of good (like to think my presence is more a + than a -). However, that doesn’t mean that August 3rd isn’t significant for anyone else. In fact, it is an action packed historical tour de force, easily in the top 365 days of history actioness. Some notable events?
- 8 AD- Roman general Tiberius defeats the Dalmatians. Apparently, these dogs were more formidable in Roman times.
- 1492- Christopher Columbus sets sail from Spain. You are welcome, Caribbean.
- 1527- first known letter from North America is sent by John Rut from Newfoundland. Insert joke/pun here about the sender or the contents.
- 1852- first boat race between Yale and Harvard. Harvard won. Africa divvied up as a result and Scramble for Africa begins. Wait, those aren’t connected?
- 1900- Firestone Tire & Rubber Company is founded. You are welcome, Liberia.
- 1936- Jesse Owens wins the 100 meter dash in Berlin and does so with class. Just a beautiful reminder that a man is more than a political slogan.
- 1948- Whittaker Chambers accuses Alger Hiss of being a communust spy. Michael Gallagher accuses both of having made-up names.
So many thanks for the best wishes. Until next year.