by Beth Boswell Jacks
My January birthday is next week. In fact, all my life, my birthday has come at this exact time, and there couldnít be a worse time on the whole calendar to be born.
Sitting in a nondescript hotel room on a depressing, gray winter day, I have tried to compose ten guidelines for those of us who have had the misfortune to be born in this bleakest of months. Iím hoping this column will help others understand why we January babies are prone to start the year as such sourpusses.
Pay attention. If you have a birthday this month:
2. Thou shalt plan no birthday trips. This decree is more disappointing than a lack of innocuous birthday cards, but face it, thereís really nowhere to go in January. To some sunny clime, you say? Yeah, but then you have to come home to the cold and damp here. How depressing is that?
3. Thou shalt not go into a deep funk because thou art the first of those born in thine particular year to up your age. Take me. Hubby G-Man and I were born in the same year, but for six months, until he celebrates his big day, Iíll be a ďyearĒ older than he is. He doesnít let me forget it, the stinker.
4. Thou shalt have no memorable birthday parties. This one hurts. Everybody gets their fill of parties during the holidays, thus a January social hibernation is extremely appealing. Anyway, if you are foolish enough to throw yourself a party, be prepared for #5.
5. Thou shalt expect an ice storm on the day of the birthday party. Look forward to busted pipes so nobody can use the bathroom . . . and other assorted pleasantries. Like broken legs on slick sidewalks. Or:
6. Thou shalt attempt to combine the birthday party with a Super Bowl party, which will fail miserably. Again, who cares about your birthday when thereís a chance to win 50 bucks on the Super Bowl game board. Anyway:
7. Thou shalt have no birthday cake and ice cream at a January party because the stupid date falls too close to New Yearís Day--thou canít start breaking dieting resolutions this early. I know, this is a bummer. A veggie tray with low-fat dip is just, well, so untraditional.
8. Thou shalt receive few birthday presents. Your friends and family will buy you little or nothing because theyíre still paying Christmas bills. If youíre lucky, they might rewrap for you that waffle iron they got under the tree. Be grateful--things could be worse. Consider:
9. Thou shalt ignore small gifts with sales stickers (e.g. holiday lotions or jingle bell ties) that didnít sell before Christmas Day. I mean, get over it. You canít get blood out of a turnip. If there ainít no money, there ainít no money.
10. Thou shalt not even treat thyself to some delightful treasure, for thou thyself hath a bloated credit card bill, not to mention the tacky IRS also looms, licking its money hungry chops, around the corner.
Well, thatís it. I hate writing negative columns, but I figure if this piece helps the rest of the world understand us January babies, then the result will be positive after all.
Just remember: ďA birthday is the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun,Ē a wise and witty (and unknown) writer said. ďEnjoy the trip!Ē
Excuse me, but add 24 hours to that. This is Leap Year, donít you know--with a whole extra day for me to be older than G-Man.
Oh, well. Iíve got a good book, a good fire, and a big bowl of low-fat veggie dip surrounded by festive broccoli florets.
Let the good times roll!
WRITERíS BIO: Editor of USADEEPSOUTH, Beth Boswell Jacks is the author of 3 books (Grit, Guts, and Baseball and Snippets I and II) and is also a weekly columnist for a number of Southern newspapers. Readers and editors may contact her at email@example.com
Read about Beth's SNIPPETS books -- two collections of her columns.
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