Before 1986 there were two things in life I was certain about. Things I never got wrong on a pop quiz. Things that I could recite in my sleep.
First my name. Elyse Ellen E….
When I got married I didn’t have to change my name. That was until the woman I worked for at the time announced that I absolutely could not change my name. So naturally the decision was made and I changed it.
Besides, nobody ever pronounced my maiden name correctly; it drove me crazy. Nobody pronounces my married name right either, but it’s John’s name not mine, so I don’t care. Butcher away, folks.
The second thing I always got right was my birthday. January 18, 1957. Simple. Easy. I had a document from the State of Connecticut with a raised seal to prove that I was born on that date around 3 a.m. in the morning (sorry Mom and Dad). But I didn’t know that I would end up changing my birthday when I got married too.
Actually, I can blame this one on the same boss. It was Anna’s fault. Yup.
The summer before we got married, I was working as a high level lobbyist and John was a lowly government employee. OK, actually, I was a lowly lobbying flunky and John was pretty high up in the U.S. government. But still.
One afternoon when I was supposed to meet John for some wedding prep stuff, something earth-shatteringly important happened involving my job. It was so vitally important to the rest of the history of the world that I can’t at this moment quite put my finger on just exactly what it was.
Anyway, we were supposed to go to the DC City Office and get our marriage license. Now stop it, readers. This event was nothing like you see in those old movies, with movie stars in great hats.
Really, there was nothing romantic about it at all. I don’t think. Not so I’ve heard, anyway.
So anyway, John got our marriage license, and we got married a month or so later in a lovely church service in the church where John’s parents had been married 40 years earlier. Family and friends were in attendance.
All was good until my birthday rolled around, when John made a major confession.
“Ummm, Lease,” he said quietly. “When I got the marriage license, I mistakenly put down January 17th not 18th as your birthday.”
“Yeah. Oops. I guess that means that either your birthday is January 17th or we’re not married.”
“No, I’m pretty sure it just means that I married an idiot.”
We would have happily left it at that if it hadn’t been for my family. They betrayed me. Each and every one of them called me on the 17th to wish me a Happy Birthday that year — thinking my new husband would be taking me out to dinner on my actual birthday January 18th.
I have a large family. Even distant cousins nine times removed called on the 17th.
“See,” John said proudly, “I was right. Your birthday is obviously on the 17th because everybody is calling to wish you a happy birthday!”
This scene has been replayed every blippin’ year for 25 years. This year it will be an even 26 birthdays. And never a call on the 18th.
To make matters worse, though, I put the final nail in my own coffin myself last year. You see, I wanted to let all my bloggin’ buddies know it was my birthday. Plus I needed to address the glaring issue of my stupid blog name. And so I wrote this post: People My Age.
And because I didn’t know how to schedule posts in those days, and because a lot of my readers were from Europe and Asia, well, I posted it on January bloody 17th.
So this year I’ve given up. My birthday is January 17th from now on. Or the 18th. Whenever. Gifts will be gracefully received all month long, however.